Battle continues against ‘restrictive and draconian’ Trade Union Act

Brighton delegates told: ‘They want to make us an endangered species. But if they push us, we push back.’

Brighton delegates vowed to continue UNISON’s campaign against the Trade Union Act 2016, with its ‘restrictive and draconian’ anti-union regulation.

A motion proposed by Cymru/Wales noted that the act hampers the ability of unions to bargain and to advance pay and conditions in the workplace.

The region’s Sarah Taylor called the act, “one of the most divisive, regressive, anti-worker, anti-justice pieces of legislation ever laid before the UK parliament.

“We still don’t need it,” she said, “we still don’t want it, and we won’t accept it.”

Ms Taylor added that during its campaign against the original bill, UNISON encountered “staggering levels of ignorance of many Tories about the trade union movement and the vital work we do – but these were the very people legislating on our existence.”

Mark Fisher, a Cymru/Wales member of the NEC, said of the Conservative government: “They want to make us an endangered species. But if they push us, we push back.”

The act has been opposed by the Wales Assembly Government, which is involved in an active social partnership with trade unions. A Trade Union Wales Bill is currently making its way through the Assembly, which if passed will undo a number of the Westminster act’s provisions.

And the motion stated that, “there are many employers, not only in Wales, willing to work with trade unions to improve services for the public, and who recognise the value of trade unions.”

Conference noted the Labour Party’s commitment to abolish the bill when next in government.

In the meantime, delegates called on the NEC to continue to oppose the act and seek its repeal at the earliest opportunity.

The union will also promote the value of facility time, “so that if employers have to record its deployment, it is in terms of the considerable benefits, not just costs.”