What is the Trade Union Bill and why does it matter?
The Trade Union Bill is a new set of laws that will severely restrict working peoples' ability to organise for their own rights and campaign for a more progressive society. It will go through Parliament this Autumn and could be law by February 2016 in England, Scotland and Wales.
The Labour Party is campaigning against the Trade Union Bill because we believe it is taking away people's right to be supported at work.
We need you to take action now
1. Write to your MP and tell them you support workers rights and oppose the Trade Union Bill. Ask them to do the same.
Nick Herbert, MP for Arundel & South Downs can be contacted through his website at : http://www.nickherbert.com/
2.Join the Lobby of Parliament on 2 November from 12.30pm to lobby MP's. Arrange to meet your MP after 2pm. If you can't make this day arrange to meet them in your area the constituency.
3.Lobby your local councillor
Why not email your councillor and ask them to get the council to adopt a motion against the bill? Please use link shown below
TUC Lobby of Parliament on 2 November
12.30 People arrive at Central Hall Westminster, Storey's Gate, Westminster, London, SW1H 9NH.
Please first go to the Great Hall (inside the Central Hall building) to register.
1 - 3.30pm - rally
Hear from some exciting speakers from 1pm - 3.30pm.
2pm - lobbying starts
The lobbying in Parliament will start from 2pm and throughout the afternoon groups will go over to the House of Commons to meet with their MPs to explain why they should vote against the bill. It is always best to try and write to your MP advance or call 020 7219 3000 to say you are coming and ask for an appointment.
There will be cash sales catering located on Level 3 outside the Great Hall. In addition there are catering outlets on the lower level of Central Hall.
How to get to Central Hall Westminster
Central Hall Westminster is located on Storey's Gate, across the road from the Houses of Parliament
St James' Park station - Circle and District lines Westminster station - Jubilee, Circle and District lines Victoria station - Victoria, Circle and District lines British Rail
Walking distance from Victoria, Charing Cross and Westminster mainline stations.
Why should you oppose the Trade Union Bill?
Many Union members have their union subscriptions taken straight out of their wages, a method known as 'check off' or 'DOCAS'. This
method is efficient and beneficial for both employers and unions. The government announced they would be
removing these current arrangement in the public sector. This would be implemented as an amendment to the Trade Union Bill. It will cover local authorities, NHS bodies and schools.
The Trade Union Bill will restrict facility time
New powers will require all public sector employers to publish information on the amount of money used for trade union facilities, including paid time off to represent our members.
There will be new requirements on unions to publish the percentage of money spent on facility time and taken up with different trade union activities.
The government will have the power to introduce a cap on the amount of money local authorities can spend on facility time. The cap could also apply to different trade union activities.
The Trade Union Bill would restrict Union campaigning work with new laws on the political fund
Lots of Trade Union work is funded by our political fund. The general political fund is what funds many high profile political campaigns, such as the 'Worth It' campaign for fair pay, anti-cuts campaigns, anti-racism campaigns or local campaigns against hospital closures.
Our affiliated political fund goes towards work to take UNISON's policies into the heart of the Labour Party.
Union members choose whether to pay a proportion of their subscriptions into the affiliated political fund (Labour Link), the general political fund (GPF), both, or neither.
Within three months of the Bill receiving Royal Assent the union must have received written consent from every member who currently pays
into the political fund (both the general and affiliated fund) to say they wish to continue paying into the fund, otherwise their subscriptions cannot go into the fund.
Each member who wants to continue to pay into the political fund must give written consent to do this every five years. This must then be renewed every five years.
Unions will continue to ballot members every 10 years to maintain a political fund. Many unions will need to change their rules before they can change any arrangements around their political funds. This makes the proposed timetable unworkable.
The Trade Union Bill undermines the right to strike
The bill subjects trade union members to unprecedented levels of civil and criminal penalties, regulations and technical and monitoring requirements.
Workers will only be able to withdraw their labour through industrial action if 50% or more of eligible members vote in the industrial action
ballot. For industrial action in 'important public services' 40% of all members eligible to vote would have to vote yes for a union to have a strike
mandate. That means if 50% of members vote, 80% of those must vote yes. For example, 'Important public services' affects UNISON members working in health and education (anyone in education delivering services to people under 17). If a group of workers spend part of their time delivering a service in an 'important' area, they would be covered by the 40% threshold. All 'ancillary' workers in health and education count as 'important public services' and are covered by this, but the government has yet to name exactly who those groups of workers will be.
Action that meets every threshold could still be stopped on legal technicalities around whether all rules were followed. For example, new rules will require 'reasonably detailed' information on all balloting papers.
Reasonably detailed is yet to be defined but lack of 'reasonably detailed' information on ballot papers could be used by employers as a basis for legal action.
Unions must give extended notice of industrial action - 14 days, up from the current seven days.
Unions will have new time limits on ballot mandates. After four months, whether a dispute is resolved or not, unions will have to reballot.
The Trade Union Bill will allow employers to use agency workers to break strikes.
Employers will be allowed to bring in agency workers when their employees are on strike.
The use of agency workers during strikes undermines the right to strike and could impact on the safety and quality of the services normally provided by trained and qualified staff. Not only will it put those agency workers in a difficult and stressful position as they are asked to cover a service in a workplace they are not familiar with, it may also compromise the safety of the services that are provided.
The Trade Union Bill would undermine the right to peaceful protest on picket lines
When Union members protest during strikes they already comply with a detailed Code of Practice but if the Bill becomes law: Employers will be able to apply for an injunction to stop people attending picket lines outside their workplace.
A new criminal offence - intimidation on the picket line - could become law, and Anti Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) could be used against people protesting outside their workplace.
Every single picket would have to appoint a picket supervisor who must wear an identifying badge or armband, carry a letter of authorisation, be at the picket line at all times or be contactable by the police and meet with them at short notice.
Unions would have to give 14 days notice of any plans for protests associated with their industrial action, including what will be written on websites and in Facebook posts and Tweets. If they do not provide details, or fail to provide updates of materials, unions will face financial penalties.
Peaceful protest is an important part of an open and democratic society and there should be no place for a law that makes criminals of people making their voices heard in this way.
To make your voice heard, oppose the Trade Union Bill, by contacting your MP Nick Herbert, and by joining the TUC lobby of Parliament on November 2nd.