Karin Smyth joined thousands of trade unionists and supporters at the 2015 Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival in Dorset on Sunday 19 July.
The Labour MP addressed the main stage rally, part of the annual weekend-long festival which commemorates the Tolpuddle Martyrs
She said: “Today the collective need for the rights of working people to be recognised, cherished and protected is as relevant as ever.”
And commenting on the government’s new Trade Union Bill she added: “Our country and the people living here face many, many big challenges. But they will not be addressed by a law that is set to criminalise working people who want to protect their rights. It is a law that seems intent on gagging working people the moment they want to challenge their working conditions; their health and safety, and their rates of pay.
“Taking forward the trade union’s proud traditions of educating and informing members and communities will be important to ensure everyone in the country knows the truth about this Bill’s intents and outcomes.”
The Tolpuddle Martrys were six farm workers, leaders of a newly formed trade union, who in 1834 were arrested and sentenced to seven years’ transportation for taking an oath of secrecy, sparking a major nationwide protest. The Dorset village has been an icon of the trade union movement ever since.