The Trade Union Bill is outdated ‘blue tape’ 

At a time when workers are feeling the pain of cuts in the workplace; whether it’s jobs, wages, terms and conditions or Government changes to pensions, it’s no surprise that the Tories are simultaneously trying to prevent workers from protecting themselves and each other from pending cuts. 

When looking into the detail of the Trade Union bill, I was surprised at just how blatant an attack it is. At a time when the Tories are looking to deregulate businesses and workplaces, with all their talk of ‘red tape’, the changes in this bill would burden trade unions, workers, businesses, and even local authorities with more blue tapethan ever before.  

Whilst there are ways in which the trade unions could be encouraged to modernise, the bill actually dismisses any scope for introducing electronic ballots. These would allow trade unions to engage with more members and accurately gauge support for action, even allowing them to work within the Tories proposed 50% turnout thresholds. However the bill does not allow for any electronic balloting, suggesting that the Tories have no interest in making sure that action is representative, but instead want it suppressed. 

It is not just the Labour Party that have concerns about this bill. Tory David Davis has said that elements of it are reminiscent of Fascist Spain under General Franco. The Chartered Institute of Professional Development has said that these proposals are an outdated response to the challenges of the modern workplace as the number of work days lost to strike action has dropped by more than 90 per cent in the past 20 years. Even Former Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable has written that these proposals are ideological rather than practical and have a weak evidential and legal basis.  

This bill goes so far as to say that those involved in a picket line would have to wear an official armband and could be fined up to £20,000 for failing to do so. 6.5 million British workers are members of trade unions and let there be no mistake that this bill is far from a means of making trade unions fairer, more representative or fit for the 21st century as has been cited by the Government. 

It is an attack on the ability of working people to stand up for fairness in their pay packet and in their work places and I will be voting against the bill tonight.  

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