The Trade Union Bill: Graeme’s story

My name is Graeme Matheson and I work as a building services engineer

My job involves being the contract administrator for all mechanical and plumbing services contracts for the city of Dundee.

I decided to work in this area because of my engineering background, knowledge and experience. The best thing about my job is the variation from day to day – sometimes from hour to hour.

My worst days are when a public building has no heating, essential air conditioning, hot water etc, and steps are taken to remedy this before the property has to close.

Graeme Matheson.JPG

A day when I was under real pressure was the day the local press had front-page news of a legionella discovery at one of our properties, which I knew about and had well under control, but before the morning was over, the TV cameras were already in.

The government wants to make it legal for agency workers to cover my role if I was to ever go on strike. The main reason I do not think this is a good idea is newly-hired staff will not have day-to-day knowledge and local property experience.

Another reason I don’t think this is a good idea is it is a cynical sledgehammer against hard-won rights.

I think this will have a negative impact on people who use the service I provide because the service is reasonably successful. In the main, our property managers are not too aware of our existence unless something goes wrong, which means that the less we hear the more succesful our service is.

If we lose this, then confidence in what we do will suffer

I think this will make the service I provide unsafe because it requires constant supervision built up on overall experience – I really cannot go on enough about the experience element, which is essential.

In general, I do not think the Trade Union Bill is a good thing because it is a clear, unambiguous attack on previously agreed trade union rights and an attempt in one fell swoop to remove many – these will be reinstated with great difficulty.