Hundreds of people will meet their MPs in Parliament this week to discuss increasing the minimum wage, a public sector pay rise and other issues, as part of campaign coordinated by the trade union movement,
Thousands of trade unionists and other campaigners will take part in a rally calling for an early general election, with leading figures such as the RMT’s Mick Lynch, Unite’s Sharon Graham and CWU’s Dave Ward all set to speak.
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has organised the mass lobby of Parliament and a rally on Wednesday (2 November) as part of its ‘We Demand Better’ campaign.
What is the We Demand Better campaign about?
Around 600 people have contacted their MPs to arrange meetings on Tuesday, with many more expected to speak to them on the day, the TUC has said.
The action is part of the ‘We Demand Better’ campaign, which has brought together trade unions and other campaign groups around a set of core demands relating to pay, labour rights and the cost of living.
Since the coronation of Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister earlier this month, as the second Conservative MP to take on the role without a public vote, the campaign is also calling for a general election.
The TUC’s demands are:
- A £15 minimum wage as soon as possible
- A real pay rise for public sector workers
- New union bargaining rights for whole industries – protect the right to strike
- Ban zero hours contracts and stop fire and rehire
- Cut bills and nationalise energy retail
- Hike universal credit and pensions now
- Raise women’s incomes and stop workplace racism
While hundreds of people have already made appointments with their MPs, it is possible to turn up without an appointment and organise one on the day. The TUC will be registering people at Westminster Central Hall before taking people over to parliament to speak with the MP.
The lobbying effort will take place between 2pm and 6pm, followed by a rally nearby at Methodist Central Hall between 6pm and 8pm.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady will be among the union leaders to address the rally, as will a number of frontline key workers from the Fire Brigades Union, GMB and Unison among others.
‘Make sure your voice is heard’
RMT general secretary Lynch has called on people to attend the rally and campaign for “justice and freedom”. He said: “Make sure that your voice is heard and that the trade unions continue to have a voice and we roll back these anti-trade union laws which are trying to make us illegal and the fight against poverty illegal.”
The RMT said hundreds of its members have organised meetings with their MPs or expressed an interest in doing so, while ten other unions have called on members to take part in the lobby.
The rail union has also criticised recent legislation introduced by the government which would put in place minimum service levels in the transport sector, which it says would ban effective strike action.
Union leaders have previously warned that a raft of proposals backed by Rishi Sunak during the Conservative leadership election aimed at curbing the right to strike and broader trade union activity represent an “attack on democracy”.
Speaking to NationalWorld USDAW general secretary Paddy Lillis accused the government of “launching yet another blatant attempt to undermine workers having a collective voice and a real say in their working lives”.