The TUC campaign against the trade union bill
In November we asked trade unionists to lobby their MPs asking them to vote against the government’s controversial trade union bill, we said that it was a big opportunity to make sure our MPs hear directly from workers worried by the government’s plans to undermine the right to strike in restricting pickets, protests and other measures.
We know this was done as delegates to Bristol Trades Union Council gave verbal report backs on the responses they got from their MPs. At that meeting Bristol Trades Council agreed that we should post the responses to our web site.
So we’re urging all trade unionists who got a response from their MP, whether that be verbal or written, to send the details or a copy of the letter to firstname.lastname@example.org alternatively use the comment box below.
Chris Skidmore – Conservative MP for Kingswood
Thank you for contacting me about strike laws.
Trade unions are valuable institutions in British society and dedicated trade unionists have a strong history of working hard to represent their members, campaigning for improved safety at work and giving support to their members when it’s needed. But it is only fair that the rights of unions are balanced with the rights of hardworking taxpayers who rely on key public services.
It is wrong that politicised union leaders can hold the country to ransom with demands that only a small percentage of their members voted for; causing misery for millions of people and harming our economy too.
I am glad the Government will rebalance the interest of employers, employees, the public and the rights of trade unions by introducing a 50 per cent voting threshold for union ballot turnouts. The requirement for there to be a simple majority of votes in favour would remain.
To tackle the disproportionate impact of strikes in essential public services such as health, education, fire and transport, a requirement will be introduced in addition to the 50 per cent minimum voting turnout so that 40 per cent of those entitled to vote must vote in favour of industrial action for it to take place. Action will also be taken to ensure strikes cannot be called on the basis of ballots conducted years before.
I hope that this has been of some use and, as ever, if there is anything else I can help you with then please do not hesitate to get in touch.
This is a scanned copy of the reply from Chris Skidmore
Karin Smyth – Labour MP for Bristol South
Thank you for writing to me about the Trade Union Bill.
Many constituents are understandably worried about this unfair proposal put forward by the Tory Government. Recently, Bristol’s Labour councillors estimated that more than 100,000 trade union members in the Bristol area could be affected by the plan.
I also spoke at a public meeting in Bristol in October on the Trade Union Bill and I pointed out that this proposal is part of the Tory wider attack on our Human Rights.
I strongly oppose this deeply divisive Bill, which would introduce the most significant changes to the rules concerning trade unions and industrial action in a generation.
Rather than working with trade unions in order to help boost economic efficiency and tackle Britain’s major economic challenges including our worrying productivity gap and skill shortages, this Bill is set to criminalise working people who want to protect their rights. I share your concerns that this Bill would restrict working people’s ability to challenge important workplace issues, such as low pay or health and safety concerns.
I voted against this Bill in the House of Commons on 11th of November. Unfortunately, Tory MPs supported it and it passed its Third Reading. The Bill now has to go to the House of Lords for consideration.
Thank you once again for writing to me about this issue.