Bishop of Derby speaks about importance to democracy of charities, trade unions and civil society

Derby 191115cOn 8th September 2016 Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town led a debate in the Lords: “That this House takes note of the role that charities, trade unions and civil society groupings play in a democracy, including the provision of advice and information to government, and of the case for regulating lobbying activities, including those undertaken by business and private interests.”

The Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Dr Alistair Redfern contributed to the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, want to thank the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter, and I want, in the nicest possible way, to take for granted what she said, because it was very important and I agree with it absolutely. I want to invite us to look at the last three words, “in a democracy”, as a very important context for this discussion and debate, not least for the role of charities, trade unions and civil society.

Democracy works through two very important elements. One, of course, is the offer of ideas and suggestions about what to do to best order society. It is about answers to problems. The lobbying industry and the contribution that charities make to that, as the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Harries, and the noble Lord, Lord Griffiths, and others have shown, is very important—

“From our experience, here is the answer to this kind of question”. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby speaks about importance to democracy of charities, trade unions and civil society”

Trade Union Bill – Bishop of Chester supports amendment on electronic balloting

ChesterOn 8th February 2016, the House of Lords considered the Government’s Trade Union Bill in committee. The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, spoke in favour of amendments to allowing electronic voting in union ballots alongside the Bill’s introduction of mandatory thresholds for strike ballots.  Baroness Neville-Rolfe responded for the Government. Continue reading “Trade Union Bill – Bishop of Chester supports amendment on electronic balloting”

Trade Union Bill: Bishop of Rochester calls for focus on better relationships over more regulation

On the 11th January 2016 the Rt Revd James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, spoke during the Second Reading of the Government’s Trade Union Bill. The Bishop called on Government to foster a culture of good practice and partnership rather than introducing fresh measures to increase regulation and control.

RochesterThe Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, we on these Benches are always wary of involving ourselves in debates that, as we have already seen, are likely to become fairly polarised in political ways. Of course, this is a Second Reading debate, in which we try to focus on matters of intention and principle. Therefore, I dare to step in. Indeed, it is only because my right reverend friend the Bishop of Bristol has conspired to get himself on a plane to Uganda at this precise moment that I am standing in his place at all. I rather wish that he had been here instead of me, but there we are.

We have an interest in these matters, because many of the origins of the trade union movement lie in close partnership with the churches of this land, not least the Methodist Church but others also. From these Benches, we have a continuing concern for the flourishing of those things that are to do with civil society in our nation, and, within civil society, of those things that we think of as intermediate institutions, of which trade unions are a very good example. Therefore, the place of trade unions is of concern to us. Continue reading “Trade Union Bill: Bishop of Rochester calls for focus on better relationships over more regulation”

Trade unions, the church and modern slavery – speech by the Bishop of Derby

On 19th November 2015 the House of Lords debated a motion from Labour Peer Lord Foulkes of Cumnock “That this House takes note of the role of trade unions in a democracy and their contribution to the general economic wellbeing of the nation.” The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, spoke in the debate about the historic connection between trade unions and the churches, today’s ‘non-joining’ culture and the role unions can play in combating modern slavery. The speech can also be watched online, here.


 

Derby 191115c

The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, for this timely and important debate, and for his introduction to it. I want to say a little about the context in which we are having the debate and then make one or two points about the future of the trade union movement. As the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, hinted, the trade union movement as we know it came out of chapels and churches and concern for the welfare of human beings in the world of work. We face similar challenges. If I may, I shall name some of the challenges that face not just churches but trade unions.

We live in what I call a non-joining culture. People want their rights and services in their lives but there is less energy to join and put your back to the wheel to make it happen. As people do not join and our numbers go down, there are fewer people to take up this important work. That is a real challenge for the trade union movement, as it is for the church, not least as the world of work gets more complex. We need more energy, more wisdom and more contribution from the experience of those in the world of work. Continue reading “Trade unions, the church and modern slavery – speech by the Bishop of Derby”