The Tories Trade Unions Bill is an attack on working people and on the Labour Party

by Liam Byrne | 15.09.15 | in: Communities, Economics, Equality, Labour market, Labour's future, National news, Trade Unions, Uncategorized, Universities, Science & Skills, Westminster, Youth unemployment


Dear friends,


Last night Parliament saw the second reading of this Tory Government’s Trade Union Bill.


The Labour party is completely united in its opposition to this pernicious Bill and I voted against it at second reading last night.


This Bill is a cynical attack against working people and the brilliant work of trade unions all over our country. Not since the 1980’s has there been such a dramatic shift in industrial relations law. This divisive piece of legislation puts to bed any notion that the Government is taking a one nation approach.


The Government is using this to attack the Labour Party and the support it receives from Trade Unions but this attack on people’s rights affects all trade unions, not just unions affiliated to the Labour Party. The six million members of trade unions – from teachers to bakers, office workers to nurses, engineers to shop assistants – all will be affected.


The principal concerns with the Bill are as follows:


  • Place curbs and restrictions on the right to strike with a 50% turnout thresholds in all strike ballots and 40% affirmative vote of all those entitled to vote in ‘important’ public services


  • Employers will be able to break strikes by bringing in agency workers to replace strikers. This could risk public safety and impact on the quality of services.


  • The Bill promises big new restrictions on pickets and protests. Striking workers will have to tell their employer all their plans – including what they will post on Facebook or Twitter or whether they will use a loudspeaker – two weeks before the strike.


  • The Government will also take the power to reduce the statutory right of trade union officials to paid time off, which will limit the ability workers to stand up for decent services and safety at work, or defend their jobs or pay.


  • If the government is worried about union democracy, they should end the ban on unions balloting online and in the workplace and let us use modern voting methods to increase turnout.


Unfortunately the Government was victorious in the vote last night. But I will be seeking to work with both my parliamentary colleagues from across the Labour party and our friends in the Trade Unions movement to ensure that this malicious piece of legislation stopped.


With all best wishes





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