General secretary Dave Prentis urged delegates at UNISON’s LGBT conference to continue the fight back against the government’s Trade Union Bill as it now heads to the Lords, when he spoke in Brighton this morning.
Attacking the “vicious, vindictive bill”, which the government prefered to spend time on rather than dealing with the real problems that the country faces, he highlighted a number of the clauses in the proposed legislation.
The attack on union fighting funds, for instance, would see UNISON having to get a written, paper permission from each and every member for any of their subscription to be used in one of the union’s fighting funds – not once, but every five years.
The bill would make it illegal for trade union members to have their union subscriptions deducted directly from their wages – although MPs can still have their political party subscriptions deducted directly from their pay.
Some of the original proposals, such as those that would have placed huge restrictions on social media use, are being removed and this, he told them, is as a direct result of campaigning.
Noting that a key part of the union’s work is about “how we make the lives of those who come after us better,” he said that the struggle against the bill would make the union stronger yet and, indeed, offer new opportunities to recruit and build.
“Let’s get out there fighting and, if we do, nobody will stop us and we will win.”
Praising the LGBT group for its work, he pledged that UNISON as a whole would continue to fight for a fairer society, fighting against discrimination and for equality.
Mr Prentis also took the opportunity to send the union’s thoughts and condolences to the people of Paris as they deal with the terrorist attacks that shook the French capital last night, including to UNISON’s sister unions in France, whose members in the emergency services are dealing directly with the effects of the attacks.