Trade Union Bill – My Letter to David Nuttall MP

I’ve today written a letter to David Nuttall MP, asking him to reconsider his position on a barbaric attack on workers rights in the UK.  You can find this letter below.  As ever, I’ll keep you up to date on any replies that I get although, judging by previous letters I’ve sent, I won’t hold my breath for a reply!

Dear Mr David Nuttall MP,

I am asking you to use your voice to say no to the Trade Union Bill and the proposals to allow the use of agency workers to replace striking workers.

The government’s proposals place extreme and severe restrictions on the right to strike. Taking away someone’s right to strike removes what is often their last defence against unscrupulous employers.

In many workplaces having agency workers doing unfamiliar jobs could pose a serious health and safety risk to themselves and others, as well as undermining a basic right in practice. With already the strictest anti-trade union laws in Europe, Britain would entrench this position by becoming one of the very few countries in Europe that allowed this to happen. In addition, trade unions already have to meet extremely detailed, onerous requirements for any industrial action to comply with the law. In fact, because of this Britain is regularly found in breach of its obligations by the International Labour Organisation (part of the UN). The Bill contains a series of wide ranging measures that would make already very detailed and demanding laws even more complicated, allowing unscrupulous employers to find it even easier to tie trade unions up in the Courts on tiny technicalities to stop industrial action.

Nearly 80% of adults regularly agree that trade unions are essential to protect workers’ interest, but the Bill doesn’t stop at corroding people’s right to strike, it will also introduce measures designed to strangle people’s most powerful way of protecting their rights at work. It seeks to restrict the amount of time trade union workplace representatives can spend on helping people at work in the public sector, despite such ‘facility time’ being agreed voluntarily by employers and large productivity gains to the whole economy from such arrangements. The government have also unveiled vindictive plans to stop the easy collection of trade union subscriptions via ‘check-off’ despite the cost being negligible. The government also want to give themselves and regulators additional wide ranging and intrusive powers that are unnecessary, costly and time consuming.

Heavy handed measures such as having to tell your employer what you’ll post on Facebook two weeks in advance or whether you intend to carry a banner or loudspeaker amount to authoritarian proposals to silence voices and stifle protest and picketing. They also want to constrain trade unions’ ability to carry out national campaigning activity that is critical of the government – this is the only reason they have to meddle in the internal democratic decision making of how unions transparently allocate resources to their own political funds.

Why is the government making is much harder for working people to achieve better pay and working conditions for themselves by organising in a trade union? These proposals just give a green light to bad employers to behave even worse towards the people who work for them. Ultimately, this means the Bill is a threat to all of our rights at work. And is why the opposition inside and outside of Parliament is growing.

You can read more detail about why the Trade Union Bill should be opposed here

I would like to meet you in your constituency surgery to discuss this matter further. Please oppose the Trade Union Bill.

Yours faithfully,
David Smith.