TALKING POINT: ‘Trade Union Bill is an attack on rights of working people’

The Trade Union Bill, will have an adverse impact on the rights of workers says council leader Craig Martin
The Trade Union Bill, will have an adverse impact on the rights of workers says council leader Craig Martin

The Trade Union Bill is an attack on the whole labour and trade union movement and it is important we stand together to defeat it.

We at the Falkirk Council Labour Group are concerned that the proposals will have an adverse impact on our ability to maintain good industrial relations with our workforce because the proposed legislation attacks facilities agreements and also reduces the council’s budget through the removal of the practice of check off.

23-04-2012. Picture Michael Gillen.  FALKIRK. Municipal Building. Craig Martin

23-04-2012. Picture Michael Gillen. FALKIRK. Municipal Building. Craig Martin

Falkirk Council Labour Group will submit a motion on the UK Government’s Trade Union Bill for discussion at the next suitable meeting of Falkirk Council. We have to do all we can to stop the Tories’ Trade Union Bill affecting people who work in our vital public services. Falkirk will say no to these attacks on working people and we will not co-operate with attacks on facility time or check off.

It is also for the Scottish Government to stand with us and do what they can to resist this bill.

It is clear that this is nothing more than an ideological attack on the rights of working people across our country. People on strike will be criminalised, workers’ rights will be undermined by the use of agency workers and democracy will be undermined by the introduction of ballot turnout thresholds. The hard working public sector staff in Falkirk need to hear urgently from the Scottish Government about how they plan to stop this attack on working people, as the Labour First Minister in Wales already has.

The Trade Union Bill contains a variety of negative impacts for trade unions and workers across Scotland but there are two specific issues that impact on public sector employers. These changes will negatively affect industrial relations and the running of public services in Scotland.

The Bill will place an additional burden on public sector employers by requiring them to report on how much facility time they have agreed with unions. The Bill also contains a reserve power that will allow a Minister at Westminster to cap arbitrarily the level of facility that the employer and the union are permitted to agree. This can be done at any time and without reference to the employer’s views or local circumstances.

Similarly, the UK Government is proposing to outlaw the use of Deduction of Contributions at Source systems for trade union subscriptions. Payroll deductions are used in a variety of ways by employers, with employee consent, and can include deductions for charitable giving and pension contributions.

At present the UK Government is proposing only to prevent union subscriptions being paid through the payroll. Again this will be done without reference to employer views or local circumstances. We are calling on all public sector employers to stand with their trade unions.