Trade Union Bill
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Trade Union Bill
The Conservative Government is pushing ahead with a Trade Union Bill, which if passed will lead to massive restrictions on how trade unions are organised. This is a purely politically motivated attack on trade union organisation.
Elements of the Bill have been described by leading Tory David Davis as a law straight from the murderous Right-wing regime of General Franco in Spain.
Its aim is to weaken and hopefully crush Britain’s trade unions. With the number of days lost to strike action down 90% in the past 20 years, there is no justification for this Bill.
So what exactly does the Bill propose?
Pickets will be singled out, with leading members forced to wear ID armbands
Leading pickets will need to report to the police and provide their personal details to employers. This is state sponsored blacklisting
Failure to nominate a leading picket could lead to arrest
Strike breaking will be legalised. Agency staff will be allowed to be bussed in to break any strike
Balloting thresholds for strike action will become punitive. In order to be legal an industrial action ballot will have to achieve a turnout of 50%. In so-called “key public services” a further hurdle will be inserted that at least 40% of members polled must vote yes for industrial action. In effect in ‘key’ industries such as firefighters, teachers and highways maintenance an 80 per cent ‘yes’ vote will be required
Unions will be forced to give 14 days’ notice of strike action, rather than the current 7 and will have to publish a detailed plan of the strike action 14 days in advance – including a social media plan
Workers in the public sector including local government will be barred from paying their union dues, straight out of their wages through the check off system.
Unions will be charged more money to support the greatly increased powers of the Certification Officer, which regulates trade unions, and which will have new powers to issue fines up to £20,000
Trade union political funds will be changed from the current opt out system to a new opt in system, the funds which are used which is used for campaigning and supporting the Labour Party, will be depleted due to the huge administrative costs incurred
Every five years unions will have to ask members if they still wish to pay the political levy
Trade unionists in the public sector will have a time limit set on his or her time spent on trade union activities
Ballot papers must ask what type of industrial action members want to take and there will be a warning reminding members that unofficial industrial action could lead to dismissal
The Certification Officer will have new powers to investigate trade unions, as opposed to currently only reacting to complaints.
Brian Rye, National Secretary of UCATT, said: “It’s not too strong to say this Bill is the greatest threat to workers, trade unions and workers’ rights for a generation. In a democracy, we let this Bill pass at our peril. If Cameron and Osbourne get their way medieval serfdom and servitude will again be the lot of the British worker.”
Details about how to campaign against the Bill can be found here:
Guide: Blacklisting and public procurement
Our new guide seeks to assist UCATT members in lobbying to stop public contracts going to firms that have blacklisted workers and have not made up for it. Download the Blacklisting & Public Procurement Guide now.
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