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Trade Union Bill threat to unions

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The Trade Union Bill is a threat to all workers.  Next Thursday the three recognised campus unions and the Students Union are co-hosting a meeting to explain this and to discuss how we can oppose it.   Our main speaker is Baroness Jan Royall, former Labour leader in the House of Lords and currently a Pro-Chancellor at the University.   The Bill is currently working its way through the Lords, after receiving support in the House of Commons (see the news item from the South West TUC below for more information about the Bill).

 

Government ignores the case against Union Bill

The Conservative Government is pushing on with the Trade Union Bill despite the evidence and powerful arguments against it. Requirements to make unions give two weeks’ notice on their use of social media during a strike have been dropped and there will be no new criminal powers against pickets.

Frances O’Grady TUC General Secretary said: “The government is clearly beginning to feel the pressure to amend this draconian and unnecessary bill. The Bill is a huge threat to civil liberties. Picket supervisors will still have to give their name and contact details to the police, and unions still face court injunctions and possible damages if an organiser forgets to wear an armband.

In addition, the government still plans to:

  • Impose new voting rules so that abstentions count as no votes
  • Deny unions the right to use secret and secure online voting
  • Extend notice times for strike action
  • Force unions to re-ballot after given time periods
  • Allow agency workers to be used to break strikes
  • Stop union membership subs being deducted from payroll in the public sector
  • Cap time off for trade union reps in the public sector
  • Update the code of practice on picketing

 

The South West TUC helped coordinate a lobby of MPs and managed to meet around 14 Conservative MPs. Although they all voted for the Bill in its third reading, many agreed to raise concerns with ministers. They found arguments in favour of online voting hard to resist. Many sympathized with the mounting case in favour of maintaining ‘check-off’ facilities across the public sector. Sarah Wollaston, Conservative MP for Totnes agreed to add her name to an amendment to the Bill. This wasn’t put to a vote after ministers promised to reconsider the points made.

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