Newport trade unionists challenge UK Government Trade Union Bill

I joined up with local local trade union representatives to voice support for the Welsh Government’s challenge to the UK Government’s Trade Union Bill. Wales’ Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews – who I met at the Riverfront Theatre today alongside local GMB, Unison and Unite activists – has proposed Wales-specific amendments to the Bill.

These amendments include excluding Welsh public services from proposals to place restrictions on Trade Union facility time, and end ‘check-off’ arrangements whereby union subscriptions are paid directly from wages. Crucially, the Welsh Government amendment – due to be debated in the Senedd this week – would exempt Welsh public service workers from the controversial plan to increase the threshold of membership support for industrial action to 40%.

The UK Government’s Trade Union Bill is a cynical and politically motivated attack on the democratic role of trade unions in our society. The best way for public services to ensure effective delivery is through a constructive working arrangement with trade union colleagues. This sort of collaboration and respect is exactly why the Junior Doctors Strikes and Firefighters’ disputes we saw under the Tories in England were averted in Wales.