Today I will be voting against the Tories’ Trade Union Bill which is an uncompromising, undemocratic attack on the freedom and rights of workers.
It will fundamentally undermine the balance between workers and employees, causing more industrial unrest in the future.
Below are just few examples how the Act will impact the workplace:
- Agency workers will be allowed to replace striking workers. This undermines the workers’ ability to negotiate, but, furthermore, poses serious health and safety concerns regarding inexperienced replacement workers.
- In some public services (fire, health, education, etc), 50% of members must turn out to vote for strike action and 40% of the entire membership must vote in favour. This threshold is incredibly high compared to most other organisations, including the Tory Party for selecting their mayoral candidate. If the Government is serious about promoting democracy within the trade union movement they should secure electronic and workplace ballots.
- All public sector employers will have to publish information on the cost of time off for union reps, plus a breakdown of what facility time is used for – collective bargaining, representing members in grievances or disciplinary action, or running training programmes. This change will hamper the ability of employers to invest in good relations with their employees and add more red tape to trade unions when they should be focused on representing their members.
The Government are claiming these are moderate changes, but it is clear they have the potential to undermine our human rights. Instead of eroding the role of trade unions and alienating millions of workers, I call on the Government to work towards creating a harmonious relationship between employer and employee. Only by respecting the interests of both parties can we achieve the vital balance our economy needs.