Trade Union Bill
I strongly opposed the Government’s Trade Union Bill throughout its Parliamentary stages because it sought to undermine the basic protections that trade unions provide people at work.
Trade unions are an important part of an open, democratic society. I am very concerned that by bringing forward the Trade Union Bill the Government sought simply to weaken trade unions rather than to work with them in order to help boost economic efficiency and tackle Britain’s major economic challenges including our worrying productivity gap and skills shortages.
It is my view that the Act is designed to restrict workers’ voices and to prevent unions from effectively representing their members.
I also fear this Act risks driving a false wedge between government, industry, employees and the public by severely restricting the rights of ordinary working people to challenge important workplace issues such as low pay or health and safety concerns. As a result, this Act could damage industrial relations and make it harder to prevent the strike action and disruption that we all want to avoid. This is why I voted against the Trade Union Bill at every opportunity in the House of Commons.
Through cross-party working in the House of Lords, some of the worst elements of the Trade Union Bill were removed. Government defeats showed the weight of opposition to the Bill and also offered opportunities for the Government to hear some of the genuine and deeply felt concerns about it.
Despite all the concessions from the Government following determined opposition, I remained opposed to the Bill. However, it was passed. The Trade Union Act is entirely unnecessary and is bad for workers and businesses. It risks damaging industrial relations and undermining constructive employment relations.