TUC general secretary writes for USi on how to beat the Bill

Frances O'Grady Europe, UK, Union busting

CBVFGBMQFEAWHkdcVQAdCxNe-1The government’s Trade Union Bill has its second reading in the House of Commons on Monday … but what can you do to stop it?

I believe the Bill is an grossly unfair attack on the rights of working people and their trade unions. I’m calling on union members and supporters to write to their MPs and to sign a petition to protect the right to strike.

The government is proposing to overturn the long-standing ban on employers breaking strikes by bringing in agency workers to cover for strikers. This could have big safety implications, lead to worse public services, and will undermine the right to strike.

And the Bill proposes huge restrictions on peaceful picketing and protests. Striking workers will have to tell their employer hugely detailed plans – down to what they will post on Facebook, and whether they’ll use a megaphone – two weeks before they strike.

There are lots of other proposals in the Bill too – including attacks on union reps in the public sector, restrictions on how unions collect and spend their money and lots more unnecessary red tape.

And all of it taken together fundamentally undermines the right to strike.

Trade unions play a vital role in representing millions of workers, making sure they are treated fairly at work. And that works because employers and employees both have some power. Employers have to negotiate with workers – because the workers can take strike action if their employers don’t.

If this Bill passes, the right to strike will be under threat. That’ll upset the power balance at work. Ordinary workers won’t have any power to stand up to their bosses when they’re being unreasonable. And that’ll mean worse pay and conditions for everyone, and workers unable to raise concerns about service cuts and safety.

  • Frances O’Grady is general secretary of the TUC

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Frances O'Grady

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