THE BLOG

The Government's Trade Union Bill Makes a Mockery of David Cameron's Claim to Support Working People

16/09/2015 11:44 BST | Updated 16/09/2016 10:12 BST

Trade unions ensure that we are all treated with fairness at work and that workplaces are safe places. We are a central part of any democratic and civilised society. The Government through this anti Trade Union Bill is attempting to silence people's right to a voice within the workplace.

This Bill has been called 'vindictive ' by Vince Cable of the Liberal Democrats while the Conservative David Davis referred to it as more fitting under the regime of Franco.

The Government's own watchdog has said the Bill is not fit for purpose and does not see the need for such sweeping reforms.

Liberty and Amnesty International have also criticised the undemocratic, in fact anti-democratic, nature of the proposed legislation. They agree that it cannot be acceptable in a democratic society for laws to be passed requiring trade unions to publish a list in advance of the identity of those taking part at a picket, how many and whether they plan to use loudspeakers, props, banners etc. The Government's proposals also suggest that trade unions will be required to report on plans to run Twitter and Facebook accounts, and the likely content of any websites or blogs. There is no doubt this Bill is designed as part of a package to stop working people exercising their right in order to protect their pay and terms and conditions at work.

The provision by which employers have been prohibited to break strike action by drafting in agency workers, in effect since 1973, is also under threat. Not even Margaret Thatcher attempted to remove it. The Recruitment and Employment Confederation has also concerns about this move. Kate Shoesmith, head of policy at the REC, told the BBC: "We are not convinced that putting agencies and temporary workers into the middle of difficult industrial relations situations is a good idea for agencies, workers or their clients."

Any reasonable person would conclude that these proposals are an unjustifiable assault on trade unions and their members and will seriously undermine good industrial relations. They illustrate perfectly well what this Government really thinks of workers and make a mockery of David Cameron's claim to be on the side of working people.

The NUT will work with the TUC to campaign vigorously against these plans to tighten the already draconian anti-union legislation through all available means. We need strong trade unions as we confront continuing austerity, attacks on ordinary workers and their families, on welfare, on jobs, on living standards and on workers' rights.

Without recourse to industrial action where necessary working people will be left without a voice to challenge exploitation and unfairness.

The Trade Union movement has a long and proud history and has achieved much which has benefited millions of people. This Government voted in by a whisker must not be allowed to sweep it all away with this unnecessary legislation.