Scottish Parliament committee seeks exemption from Trade Union Bill


UK wide bill would further curb UK trade union rights

THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT’S devolution committee has ruled that Scotland should be exempt from the scope of the anti-Trade Union Bill.

The Bill, which has passed it’s third reading in the UK parliament, would curb the rights of trade unionists in Britian, who already labour under some of the most restrictive anti-workplace organisation laws in Europe.

The devolution commitee ruling represents the second major attempt by the Scottish Parliament to exempt Scotland from the effects of the bill. In December 2015 a special motion lodged by SNP MSP Roseanna Cunningham called on the parliament’s presiding officer to give the Scottish Parliament to right to rule on the application of the new legislation to Scotland. Tricia Marwick, the presiding officer, rejected the motion.

Quoted on the BBC , committee convenor Bruce Crawford said: “We recognise the UK Government wishes to pass this bill despite there being no real evidence to support its position. It is unlikely, therefore, to heed our call to halt the legislative process in the UK parliament so that the bill does not become law in any part of the UK.

“That being the case, the committee recommends the UK government removes Scotland from the territorial extent of the bill, through amendments to the House of Lords at the report stage.

“Without these amendments, Jeremy Hunt will in practice have regulation-making power over industrial relations in the NHS in Scotland.”

Clauses in the new anti-union legislation include restrictions on the ability of union members to fund their union directly through their wages and new thresholds that could effectivley make strikes illegal in many industries.

In December 2015 Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon spoke together for the first time in Glasgow against the Trade Union Bill. Sturgeon pledged to meet David Cameron to voice their opposition to the Bill.

Trade unions and council groups in Scotland have said they will refuse to implement the bill, even if that means breaking the law.

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Picture courtesy of Roger Blackwell