Report and video from Hands off our Unions launch rally

Report and Video from the Hands off our Unions launch rally in London on 11 February 2014.

Report from the Morning Star:

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner has launched a scathing attack on Tory PM David Cameron's threats to impose tougher anti-union laws, warning that unions will work "outside the law" if they are forced to.

Mr Turner told the People's Assembly Hands Off Our Unions campaign launch in London on Tuesday evening that unions would not tolerate bully tactics from the PM to curb workers' rights.

It followed Mr Cameron's call for an inquiry to consider strict new anti-union laws in the wake of the Grangemouth dispute.

The PM has whined that Unite subjected billionaire boss Jim Ratcliffe to "intimidation" and "harassment."

But the rally was reminded that Mr Ratcliffe held Britain to ransom by insisting he would shut the oil refinery unless 900 workers accepted wage cuts before retreating to his £125,000,000 yacht in the Mediterranean.

"That's intimidation and harassment," said Mr Turner.

"If people think they can make decisions to sack our people, cut our wages, take away our pensions and then slope off into obscurity, they can think again.

"The inquiry is nothing but a partisan attack and a springboard to further anti-union and anti-protest legislation to come.

"I've got a message for Cameron - you can pass any legislation you want, you can put us outside the law if you want. But if you put us outside the law, we'll operate outside the law."

Mr Cameron threatened last week to ban future Tube strikes outright and Tory Mayor Boris Johnson said no strike should be legal without the support of 50 per cent of union members.

The curbs will be among anti-union pledges in the next Tory general election manifesto.

The 400-strong rally cheered when RMT president Peter Pinkney pointed out the hypocrisy of Mr Johnson's attacks after he was elected on a lower turnout.

John Hendy QC left union members with no doubt of the effects the Tory plans could have however.

"Collective bargaining without the right to strike is no more than collective begging," he warned.

And People's Assembly national secretary Sam Fairbairn scolded Labour leader Ed Miliband for his handling of the Falkirk selection scandal. He said Mr Miliband "gave the green light to the attempt to smash the union at Grangemouth."

The event was backed by the Institute of Employment Rights and Campaign for Trade Union Freedom.

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