I was in the House yesterday where the Governments Trade Union Bill passed through its 3rd reading. Despite support for changes from a number of Tories, this draconian Bill will soon become the law of the land.
I know from the number of emails I have received on this issue that people in Liverpool Walton are seriously concerned by the restrictions this legislation will impose. And rightly so.
This bill, will undermine the right to strike and reduce the impact of strike action. It will strengthen already strict regulations around picketing and introduce disproportionate penalties. It will water-down union influence and give excess powers to the Certification Officer (CO) the government regulator for trade unions and employers’ associations.
This Bill is an uncompromising, undemocratic attack on the freedom and rights of workers. The new regulations bizarrely require picket supervisors to wear an armband to identify them!
Trade Unions provide a vital service to the members they represent. Thousands of workers across the country rely on their Trade Union to protect their rights and assist them through any problems at work, regardless of the sector they work in. They are based on the idea of solidarity and collective action - everything the Labour Party stands for. Unions have been around for hundreds of years and make our society stronger and more civilised. Now is no time to undermine them and remove their legitimate role in our society.
Last night Labour MPs were joined by colleagues from the other parties to oppose the Bill. Unfortunately the Tory’s prevailed and Parliament voted 305 in favour, with 271 against, giving a majority of 34. This was yet another assault by the Government on ordinary people.
Despite losing the vote it was clear that the debate was indeed won by those on our benches. Labour argued clear points against the Bill and we can only hope that the Lords make further concessions and amendments when it goes to the second chamber. However, there is no doubt that the real reason for its introduction is an ideological assault on ordinary workers’ rights and a future Labour Government would repeal this unnecessary Act.