JULIE ELLIOTT: Trade Union Bill is attack on workers’ rights

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This week the Trade Union Bill was passed by a majority in the House of Commons.

I, along with my Labour colleagues, voted against this Bill, because it is bad for workers, bad for business, and does nothing to tackle the real challenges our public services and businesses are facing.

I sat on the Bill Committee for this legislation.

For 10 sessions and over 20 hours of questioning witnesses and going through the Bill line-by-line, I saw first-hand just how misguided and party political this Bill really is.

The Trade Union Bill is the most significant attack on the rights of ordinary workers in a generation.

At a time when the number of working days lost to strike action is at an historic low, the Conservatives are using their narrow majority in the House of Commons to eat away at workers’ rights and undermine employment relations.

The Government has given lots of reasons for why this Bill is necessary, none of which makes sense.

It claims that the Bill would lead to fewer illegitimate strikes, but many of the transport strikes often cited by Ministers would have crossed the necessary threshold.

It says it wants higher turnout in union ballots, yet it has blocked online voting and work place balloting.

This is all the more strange, at a time when other Government departments are pushing for an increase in online usage for applying for benefits and filling in tax returns.

Perhaps one Conservative MP revealed the true thinking behind this Bill.

It was said that ‘it is only fair that the rights of those that belong to unions are balanced with the rights of hard working taxpayers.’

The idea that millions of union members are either not hardworking, or don’t pay tax, will come as a shock to many.

I voted against this Bill, and will continue to stand up for working people and their right to a safe workplace, fair wages and a decent pension.