Analysis Breaking

New TUC head dismisses idea of Labour repealing anti-union laws or increasing spending

Damning indictment of parts of union movement

Paul Nowak (image: TUC)

Incoming TUC general secretary Paul Nowak has appalled many of the movement’s activists by giving Keir Starmer a free pass not to increase public spending or revoke the UK’s repressive anti-trade union laws if Labour gets into power.

Mr Nowak said that Labour can’t ‘turn on the spending taps from day one’ – and dismissed the very idea of undoing decades of legal assaults on unions and workers under successive governments, adding that workers are not interested in the general strike that many feel is needed to prevent further erosion of rights and living standards. The TUC has long been criticised for its lack of combativeness in the face of relentless attacks on workers’ rights, pay and conditions. That timorousness emboldened Starmer to use his speech to the TUC’s conference in October to reassure billionaires that Labour will continue austerity – and to ludicrously claim that his own sister ‘struggles every week to make ends meet’.

Nowak’s comments were praised by Blairite MPs but did not go down well with the movement:

Paul Nowak takes up his post next week, but has been deputy to outgoing general secretary Frances O’Grady – who has accepted a seat in the House of Lords – since 2016.

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