Sharon Hodgson slams David Cameron over trade union bill while praising Nissan

Sharon Hodgson MP outside Washington Job Centre, Pennine House, Washington on Friday.
Sharon Hodgson MP outside Washington Job Centre, Pennine House, Washington on Friday.
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A Wearside MP has slammed the Government’s new trade union bill while praising the “unionised” Nissan car plant work force for its record-breaking output.

MPs earlier this week backed the Trade Union Bill, which proposes higher voting thresholds for ballots, by 33 votes at second reading.

Nissan’s constructive unionised workforce has helped to achieve this fantastic outcome, so why does the Prime Minister attack workers’ rights when in many cases like at Nissan trade unions are an overwhelming force for good?

Sharon Hodgson MP

Labour argue that the bill is “draconian and counter-productive”.

At the House of Commons weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session in Westminster, the first at which new Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn spoke as head of the shadow cabinet, Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson told David Cameron: “Nissan in my constituency has just reached the half a million production mark for its new Qashqai model, breaking all UK records.

“I am sure the whole house and the Prime Minister will join me in congratulating Nissan on this great achievement.

“Nissan’s constructive unionised workforce has helped to achieve this fantastic outcome, so why does the Prime Minister attack workers’ rights when in many cases like at Nissan trade unions are an overwhelming force for good?”

Mr Cameron replied: “I agree with the honourable lady that the achievements at Nissan are absolutely remarkable and it’s one of the great privileges of my job is being able to meet people there and see what they are doing.

“I think I am right in saying that the North East of England now produces more cars than the whole of Italy and I think it’s something we can be proud of and of course with the new Hitachi factory (in Newton Aycliffe) we are going to be manufacturing trains in the North East as well.

“The trade union bill is not what she says it is. It is to make sure that we don’t have strikes based on very low turnouts.

“A couple of years ago we had school strikes that shut schools right across the country.

“That ballot was two years out of date and only 27% of people turned out to vote.

“We have got working parents all over the country having to keep their children at home when they should be getting the public service they pay for.”