Support for working folk

IT IS unsurprising to read in recent weeks the attacks on the unions by your more reactionary correspondents such as Philip Circus.

Far from providing an alternative point of view, Mr Circus is demonstrating a consistency with the Tory party line, most famously championed by Margaret Thatcher, which has attempted to reduce the ability of workers to protect hard won employment rights .

Clearly Mr Circus and his colleagues such as Michael Brown, a Tory county council cabinet member recently condemned for his callous comments at the time of announcing massive redundancies amongst council staff, are unconcerned and possibly unaffected by the pressures of the modern working life.

They seem to have little understanding of the immense stress that workers nowadays experience as the drive for greater profits in a global market exerts downward pressure on pay and benefits, and makes job security a thing of the past.

In the current economic climate there is additional distress when workers experiencing job losses through no fault of their own find their employer determined to pay minimal compensation.

It is times like these when the importance and effectiveness of the union movement is most apparent, as it redresses the balance of power between big business and the workers.

No better example can be seen of the value of the collective approach to negotiation than that illustrated in your Horsham edition front page story (‘Workers battle global drugs giant Novartis’ July 14).

Novartis, a successful global organisation, seems to have cynically taken advantage of the lack of an organised workforce at its site in Horsham to offer a less favourable payout than that negotiated by the unionised workforce on their Liverpool site.

This is a clear example of how the collective representation that the union embodies, and the expertise in negotiation, benefits union members and ensures that they receive the outcome they deserve.

This is the support for ordinary working people that people like Philip Circus would like to see end. We believe that in these difficult times it is more important than ever and for that reason members of Horsham Labour Party attended the Tolpuddle festival in Dorset last weekend to celebrate the proud history and achievements of the union movement.

We wish the Horsham workers good luck in challenging Novartis by means of an official grievance.

We hope that Novartis does the decent thing and makes its employees an offer that appropriately represents the hard work and loyalty they have given to the company. In the meantime we would encourage working people to support and join the ‘Big Society’ of workers the union movement represents .

RICHARD NEVILLE

Horsham Labour Party trade union liaison officer and Unite branch secretary

Haywards Heath Road, Balcombe