BFAWU president condemns Tory led government cuts, legal changes, and warns minister they could face a “general strike”
Addressing the annual 2013 BFAWU conference in Bridlington at the Spa Ian Hodson – president of the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union, said the union was at the forefront of fighting against regressive government cuts, supporting young people at work and helping secure a Labour victory in the next general election.
But Mr Hodson said that the gravity and scale of the cuts meant that working people could not afford to wait, urging the labour movement to take a united stand, coordinate mass action and call a general strike if the government refused to listen.
“As a Union that represents hard working people and the real wealth creators in this country, we need to say this loud and clear; if this government is not prepared to play fair and listen, then we need to bring it down through a general strike. No ifs no buts,” he said.
The strong message came at the end of a pulsating and wide ranging speech, where Mr Hodson slammed workfare – a practice he described as a kin to modern day“slavery.”
“What chances are there for our children when the government want the first work experience to be experience to be exploitation?” he said.
“There is no difference in my between forced labour sometimes referred to as slavery and ‘Workfare’ and I’m disgusted the Labour Party didn’t stand up for our children and demand that the scheme is ended.”
“Our children deserve real jobs with real pay and Labour win any election by pledging to be a lighter shade of blue.”
Turning his fire on to tax avoiders within big business, Mr Hodson said: “Why is the government calling those who are out of work scroungers? Where’s the money gone?
“The truth is that they have used it to replace the taxes that their rich friends aren’t paying.”
“You make work pay by forcing employers to pay their workers a living wage.”
Notes to editors:
· Keynote speakers to address conference over the next week include Ronnie Draper – general secretary of the BFAWU, distinguished economist Ann Pettifor and Green Party leader Natalie Bennett.
· The BFAWU represents over 20,000 workers in food, baking and allied services industries across the UK and Northern Ireland.
· It is an affiliate to the UK Labour Party.