Opposition to Trade Union Bill continues

Hyndburn council and Welsh government are latest bodies to oppose attack on rights of their workers

Hyndburn council in Lancashire has become the latest employer to register its opposition to the government’s Trade Union Bill.

A motion adopted by the Accrington based council at the end of last week says it “welcomes the positive benefits that arise from the relationship that we have with recognised trade unions and believes that the relationship between employers and their employees through their collective representatives would be damaged by reducing facility time for elected representatives and by removing the ability of union members to pay union dues direct from wages.”

The council will write to the government and the Local Government Association, setting out its opposition.

And it said that, if the bill becomes law, the council will not “co-operate with any measures in the legislation designed either to reduce facility time for union representatives or to prevent union members from paying their union fees through the payroll”.

In Cardiff, the new year will see the Welsh Assembly debate refusing consent to the bill applying in Wales.

First minister Carwyn Jones laid the necessary motion before the Assembly last week, pointing out that the bill will affect devolved public services.

“We have made clear to the UK government that, as significant parts of the Bill relate specifically to public services which are devolved, it is not acceptable for them to impose it on Wales,” he said.

“Therefore, in view of the UK government’s continued position that this is not a matter for devolved government we’ve now taken the significant step of laying the memorandum and will oppose giving legislative consent when it comes before the assembly for consideration.

“We would have preferred to come to an agreement with the UK government, to avoid this situation, but we have been left with no other option if we are to protect devolved public services in Wales from this Bill.”