Time for the government to get its priorities straight

Instead of focusing on helping the country at a turbulent time, it plans to undermine your right to be supported and represented. Will politicians see sense and drop the Trade Union Bill?

The omens aren’t great. Stock markets are up and down again. Unemployment has begun to rise. Living standards are at painful lows for many of the poorest in our society.

In short, the government has its work cut out over the coming months and years.

Why, then, is the government needlessly taking on working people, rather than focusing on these pressing problems?  For that is what the Trade Union Bill does: it is an unnecessary attack on the rights of all working people to be supported and represented in their workplace.

More depressingly, it is an attack on the very people who could be part of the solution to the country’s problems. Unions – through our volunteering members and staff – have a positive impact on society in the UK. We are the largest civil society organisations in the country and we represent millions of people committed to improving the lives of our fellow citizens.

Across the public sector the volunteers and staff who make up trade unions work in partnership with employers to improve services for everyone.

UNISON alone has established partnership arrangements  in place at every level of public services across all four UK countries including local government, emergency services, education and the National Health Service. These are a recognised and vital component of delivering the high standard of public services the public needs. They also ensure value for money during tough economic times.

This bill will undermine these partnerships. This bill will undermine the positive role trade unions have in our country. This bill is so badly thought out that even the independent body appointed by the government to assess it has deemed it ‘not fit for purpose’ – they do not think it will save money, they think it will cost the country money.

Working people deserve better. They should not be penalised for wanting a better Britain: they should be applauded, supported and encouraged.

The country – and its working people – will judge harshly a government that chooses to pick unnecessary fights rather than focusing on helping the country through turbulent times. Will the government see sense and drop the bill?