Barry Gardiner

Working Hard for Brent North

Trade Union Bill

The government recently proposed legislation that would see widespread changes to the rules and regulations on industrial action that pose a real threat to trade union members and the rights of workers more generally. Barry has set out his position on the matter below:

I share your concerns about this Bill, which would introduce the most significant changes to the rules and regulations on industrial action in 30 years and am bitterly disappointed that, following a vote in the House of Commons, the Tory Government has used their majority to pass the bill to the next stage.

At its core the Bill rests on a mistaken belief that government, industry, employees and the public are locked in a zero sum competition whereby gains for one inevitably mean losses for the others. By restricting, the rights of ordinary working people and actually criminalising people who wish to challenge low pay or health and safety concerns is a very foolish thing to do in my opinion.

What is of particular concern is that the government has decided that a majority of those voting in a ballot for industrial action will no longer be sufficient to determine the outcome of the ballot. Instead anyone who is on the list of electors but fails for whatever reason to actually vote will be counted as voting against industrial action. This includes people who may be ill, on holiday or even recently deceased! It is perhaps pertinent to note that most of the MPs who voted for this antidemocratic legislation would not have been elected to parliament if the same rule had applied!

This is a divisive piece of legislation when we need an economy in which business, employees and government work together to improve the lives and welfare of the entire population. I am only sorry that the Labour Party is not in government and has therefore been unable to block this Bill.

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published this page in What I Stand for 2015-10-20 15:35:49 +0100

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