Commenting on the publication of the Trade Union Bill today (Wednesday) UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said:
“The Bill proves that the government is not on the side of working people. These unfair changes will make it much harder for nurses, teaching assistants, midwives and other public sector workers to ever strike for a pay rise or challenge the behaviour of bad employers.
“These spiteful proposals will deny millions of ordinary workers a voice at work. Strikes are rare and the decision to lose a day’s pay is never an easy one – especially for public sector workers who have suffered many years of pay restraint.
“When unions win a pay rise or safer working conditions for their members everyone in the workplace gets to benefit.
“Democracy won’t be enhanced by vindictively raising thresholds but by modernising balloting and allowing workers to vote from their phones and tablets.”
Notes to editors:
The proposals contained in the Trade Union Bill include:
- strikes would be unlawful unless 50 per cent of those being asked to take action vote in the ballot
- in key public services (education, health, fire, transport, border security and energy), there must be a 50 per cent turnout, and 40 per cent of all those eligible to vote must back the strike
- unlawful picketing would become a criminal offence
- unions would have to renew any strike mandate within four months of the first ballot
- the rules banning employers from hiring strike-breaking agency staff would be repealed
- unions to give employers at least a fortnight’s notice before the start of any action
- new limits on the amount of time any public sector workers can spend on trade union activities
- union members would have to opt-in to paying a union’s political fund.