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Working people are increasingly seeing their rights eroded at work and being victimised by hostile employment practices as a result of the anti-trade union legislation introduced by successive Conservative governments, delegates at the TUC Congress heard today.

A motion moved by the NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union deplored the attacks on trade unionists in a climate where employers routinely deny the rights of workers who are often in low-paid and precarious employment.

These conditions often mean that some workers are fearful of victimisation if they join a trade union.

The NASUWT, in partnership with the GMB, UNISON and Unite, is campaigning with school and college employers to value teachers and support staff.

NASUWT General Secretary Chris Keates said: “This Government wants to restrict, stifle and silence opposition and attack our fundamental democratic rights and freedoms. Their programme is an attack on basic rights, freedoms and entitlements and on democracy.

“As a movement we will continue to push back against attempts to undermine and diminish workers’ rights, will fight to to extend trade unions’ reach into workplaces and to continue to ensure that unions remain a strong, progressive force in civil society.”

Moving the motion NASUWT President Fred Brown told delegates: “We have seen some truly shocking examples of employers creating conditions akin to Victorian workhouses rather than 21st Century workplaces.

“Education is no exception. Supply teachers are increasingly exploited by unscrupulous agencies, often through the use of offshore-based umbrella companies, and where abuses include teachers being required to pay their employers’ national insurance contributions.

“However, we must recognise that there are employers who treat their employees fairly, with dignity and respect.

“These employers should be recognised and used as an example to those poor employers and to highlight to prospective employees the employers who will treat them well.”

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