Meeting with Trade Union Representatives to Discuss TU Bill

Robin Taggart, Anne McGhee, Joe Pearce of Inverclyde TU Group visiting Westminster to lobby against TU Bill.

Last week I met with Trade Union representatives to discuss the ‘growing consensus’ that Scotland should be removed from the Tory government’s Trade Union Bill – after both the STUC and COSLA called for Scotland to be excluded from the provisions of the Bill.

The Scottish Government have already asked the UK Government to exclude Scotland from the Trade Union Bill in its entirety – and has been clear that if they are unwilling to do so, the consent of the Scottish Parliament should be sought before the legislation is imposed on Scotland. The Scottish Parliament also recently voted overwhelmingly against the legislation.

Whilst giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Devolution (Further Powers) Committee [8th Jan] Dave Moxham of the STUC and Cllr Billy Hendrey of COSLA both agreed that the UK Govt should remove Scotland from the territorial extent of the Bill.

With these comments coming from both the STUC and COSLA it is clear that there is now a growing consensus that the Trade Union Bill should not be imposed on Scotland against our will. Not only is the Bill and assault on our workers it also hampers the rights of devolved administrations, local authorities and other public bodies to determine their own industrial relations.

Robin Taggart, Unison Inverclyde Branch Secretary has said:

“This bill is undoubtedly an attack on the rights of workers and Trade Union members. However it also has implications for democratic processes more generally, given some of the changes the government are trying impose. New ballot thresholds will mean that industrial action can only proceed if 50% or more of those members eligible to vote say yes in a ballot. For industrial action in ‘important public services’ 40% of all members eligible to vote would have to vote yes for a Union to have a strike mandate. That means if 50% of members vote, 80% of those must vote yes. Had the same principles been applied at last year’s general election, the number of MPs sitting in Westminster today would be in single figures.

“Of course the bill goes much further and introduces a host of new measures. One of the most baffling is that ‘picket supervisors’ will require to wear armbands to show that they have been given permission to go on strike. Having taken strike action many times over the years I can honestly say that bogus picket supervisors has never really been a problem.

“This is really about Tory ideology and vindictiveness disguised as reform. The bill has attracted unprecedented levels of opposition across Scotland including the Scottish Government and CoSLA. We do, of course, hope the bill does not make it to the statue books and if it does then the next campaign will be of non-compliance.”