The government’s new trade union bill has come under fire as many see it as a threat to worker rights.
The proposals would mean a strike could only be called if the majority of those voting are in favour of a strike; that a longer notice period be given if striking occurs; employers would be able to use agency staff to replace permanent staff who are striking; allow for the fining of unions if their pickets do not use official armbands; and end the mechanism that has unions collecting subscriptions directly from workers’ salaries.
The government’s business secretary, Sajid Javid, has said of the new bill: “We’ve already made clear, in terms of strike laws, that there will be some significant changes.”
However, the bill has come under heavy criticism, including from the government’s own people. Conservative MP David Davis has compared some of the measures as akin to Franco’s rule in Spain.
He said, speaking on Sky News, “I agree with most of the trade union bill. I think it’s very sensible…but there are bits of it which look OTT, like requiring pickets to give their names to police force. What is this? This isn’t Franco’s Britain. this is Queen Elizabeth II’s Britain.”
TUC general secretay , Frances O’Grady said on Radio 4’s Today prograame: “I think Acas (dvisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) has pointed out the danger that if you suppress that right for people who feel they are being unfairly treated at work to democratically take strike action, then people will find other ways to express that discontent.
“The point about that is that in the end it makes it much harder for employers and unions to get around the table a come up with a fair settlement, which is what we should all want to see.”