Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Protect our unions

The Government’s draconian trade union bill passed its second reading in Parliament. The bill will impose restrictive rules on strike action by creating minimum turnout thresholds for strike ballots to lead to industrial action. In public services, at least 40 per cent of eligible union members would need to back a strike. This has been attacked by opponents of the bill as effectively counting some abstentions as no votes.

Even a Conservative MP David Davis, who campaigns on human rights issues, warned the bill violated the principle of freedom of association and could lead to a "slippery slope". He told the Commons: "I particularly am offended by the idea that a picket organiser needs to give his name to the police. This to me is a serious restriction of freedom of association.” Davis suggested that elements of the bill were reminiscent of Franco’s dictatorship in Spain.

TUC general secretary, Frances O'Grady, told the annual TUC Congress in Brighton that the bill was the biggest attack on unions in 30 years. Ms O'Grady said the bill threatened "the very principle of the right to strike" and will allow employers to "bus in agency workers to break a strike".

The GMB's Sir Paul Kenny said he would be prepared to go to prison if measures such as fining pickets for not wearing an arm band become law



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