Today, and over the course of the weekend, there have been many celebrations throughout Wessex honouring May Day - or as many refer to it, International Workers Day. In Wessex, this has a special relevance as the region is home to the Tolpuddle Martyrs, rightly regarded by many as forefathers of the trade union movement.
For some, trade unions are a dirty word. 'The unions had too much power', is often a phrase you will hear such people say. It is something that has been drummed into them by right wing rags such as the Mail, Express, Sun and Telegraph in addition to a host of right leaning television pundits. We recognise there may have been some union officials who wielded power more for their own benefit and ego than in the interests of the the workers they were mean to represent, but in more cases than not the aforementioned phrase is often used by those believing the spin of the right wing press than based on any true factual evidence. The reality of 2016 is those who represent the interests of workers firmly have the cards stacked against them. Young people, if they can find work at all are terribly exploited. Insufficient wages to cover overheads are the norm for many. And zero hours contracts offer nothing more than a form of tenuous hand to mouth living for many.
The Wessex Regionalists are a progressive party. We recognise many of the rights trade unions have won over the years are actually human rights. These have not fallen from the sky or been handed out in acts of generosity by government officials, they have had to be fought for. Today there is an increasing struggle to hold on to these rights and as a progressive regionalist party we feel it is important we stand up for those rights in Wessex. We recognise May day/International Workers Day and the role of the trade unions who came into existence because of the social, political and economic injustice that comes from a society based based on the haves and have nots. It is the type of society, one day, we also hope to address through a democratically elected Wessex assembly.
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