Local Labour parties take the TU Bill campaign to the streets today across Scotland. There has been a great response from the public to the Scottish Labour petition.
And I think we can guess what Keir Hardie would have thought of the Bill on KeirHardie100
Scottish Labour is leading the way in opposing the Tory plans to attack the rights of working people with their Trade Union Bill. There will be a ‘Week of Action’ against the Tory Trade Union Bill between Saturday 26th September and Saturday 3rd October. The Scottish Labour Campaign Pack will include a local press release, a petition template, guidance on holding public meetings, and a step by step guide for CLPs on how to engage with new affiliated supporters. There will also be a leaflet on the TU Bill to use locally.
Labour councils across Scotland will oppose the Tories’ Trade Union Bill. Labour-led councils including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Fife and Renfrewshire are all ready to use the powers of local government to protect the rights of workers. The Leader of Scotland's largest council says Glasgow will defy the Bill in the Daily Record.
Labour has also called upon the SNP government in Edinburgh to use the powers of devolution to protect working people in Scotland from the Tories' attack on workers’ rights. Neil Findlay MSP asked the First Minister if the SNP Government would commit to the same opposition as Scottish Labour in refusing to cooperate with the UK trade union bill on changes to check off and facility time.
Patrick Maguire from Thompsons Solicitors says opposition from the Scottish Government has to be more than words.
In a desperate distraction strategy SNP activists tried to claim some Labour MPs abstained during the Bill's second reading. No Labour MP abstained.
Scottish Labour have also produced a “Stop the Tory TU Bill” twibbon for use on social media please encourage others to use and share it by clicking here
Labour councils in Scotland are showing the way by setting out clearly why the Trade Union Bill is not wanted here.
This is the Renfrewshire Motion for Council Meeting 24 September 2015
“Council notes the Conservative Government are proposing a Trade Union Bill that will restrict the ability of this council to engage in good industrial relations practices with our workforce and their representatives. Council believes the collection of union dues through the check-off arrangement, from which the council receives income, is part of our collective and contractual arrangements with the trades unions and one which we will defend and support. Council commits not to use agency staff to break or weaken industrial action and to continue to support arrangements that afford trade union representatives sufficient resources to enable them to carry out their functions to ensure the continuation of good industrial relations. The Leader of the Council commits to writing to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills stating council’s opposition to this Bill and our resolve not to co-operate with any attacks on facility time or check off and to write to the First Minister calling on the Scottish Government to stand with Renfrewshire and other local authorities in opposing the proposals in this Bill.”
In similar vein, this is the City of Glasgow Council motion.
"Council stands united with organised labour in opposing the UK Government's planned changes to Trade Union legislation; specifically the introduction of ballot turnout thresholds on all strike ballots, use of agency workers to replace striking staff, criminalisation of striking workers on the picket line and the proposal to place demands upon unions to publish their plans; believes that the changes are a politically motivated attack on the rights of working people and their fundamental right to withdraw their labour; is deeply concerned about the potentially damaging impact the proposals will have on workers, employers and Trade Unions in Glasgow and across the UK; believes that the Trade Union movement has been at the forefront of progressive social change, in securing both improved employment rights and in tackling poverty and inequality; and resolves to work with the Scottish Trade Union Congress and individual unions to stand up for the rights of workers."
Labour in Wales has also shown how devolved administrations can take a stand against the Bill by insisting on legislative consent. In a statement First Minister Carwyn Jones said:
"Initial correspondence received from UK Government Ministers asserts that the Bill relates to a non-devolved matter and no Legislative Consent Motion is required in the National Assembly for Wales. It is clear, however, that significant elements of the Bill relate specifically to public services which in Wales are unambiguously devolved responsibilities. I therefore do not accept the suggestion that the Bill must be regarded as concerned exclusively with non-devolved issues."
Scottish Labour Leader, Kezia Dugdale, made similar points in the Scottish Parliament and reiterated her position at a meeting with STULP on Friday.
The new UK Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has also been unequivocal in his opposition to the Bill.
Scottish Labour Leader, Kezia Dugdale's response to the Scottish Government's legislative programme.
"I hope that her government will also turn their attention to the Tory Government’s Trade Union bill.
None of us in this Scottish Parliament should be in any doubt.
This Tory Bill, supported by Ruth Davidson, has one intention and one intention only and that is to undermine the rights and ability of working people to organise for better wages, terms and conditions in the workplace.
The withdrawal of a person’s Labour is the most basic right that working people have and its effective use over time has resulted in better wages, better health and safety standards, pensions and as a result better public services and a better society.
This ideologically driven Bill is an attack on these hard won rights. It must be resisted and it must be stopped.
As such I want, on behalf of my party, to make it clear to the Scottish Government. They will have our full support to do everything we can together to stop this bill.
Over the summer I heard Rosanna Cunningham say it’s the 'prerogative' of Scottish Ministers to decide on issues like check off and facility time. She’s right.
The Tories arguments against check off and facility time are rooted in logistics, practicalities and costs – they are issues of public administration not industrial relations and are therefore clearly devolved.
So the Government will have our full support in saying No to the Trade Union Bill.
Likewise the Government would have our support for demanding a legislative consent motion. That way the Tories would need approval from this Parliament to act. Approval that they’ll not get from these benches.
We don't want to just support her government's rhetoric on the TU Bill, we want to support some real action."
This is the Blog of the Scottish Trade Unions Labour Party Committee (STULP).