Lesley Brennan

Trade Union Bill : #twoweekwarning


21 September 2015

As part of their oppressive Trade Union Bill, the Tories are consulting on proposals that would require trade unions to provide employers with details of their planned activity on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and blogs two weeks before a strike would commence.

Any failure to observe this stricture could land the unions with fines of up to £20,000 for each breach

The TUC are promoting #
TwoWeekWarning – the online campaign against these proposed restrictions.

Link :
Two Week Warning

The Tories’ plans have attracted the condemnation of organisations such as Liberty, the British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) and Amnesty International UK, who have issued this joint statement :

“The government's plans to significantly restrict trade union rights – set out in the Trade Union Bill – represent a major attack on civil liberties in the UK.

“By placing more legal hurdles in the way of unions organising strike action, the Trade Union Bill will undermine ordinary people’s ability to organise together to protect their jobs, livelihoods and the quality of their working lives.

“It will introduce harsher restrictions on those who picket peacefully outside workplaces – even though pickets are already more regulated than any other kind of protest. Unions will be required to appoint picket supervisors who must wear armbands and carry letters of authorisation, the absence of which could expose their unions to legal action.

“Further proposals out for consultation could mean unions are required to provide a protest plan to employers, police, and other State regulators, revealing in advance if they plan to use social media, including Twitter and Facebook during their campaign and what they plan to set out on websites and blogs.

“Taken together the unprecedented measures in the Bill would hamper people’s basic rights to protest and shift even more power from the employee to the employer.

“It is hard to see the aim of this bill as anything but seeking to undermine the rights of all working people.

“We owe so many of our employment protections to Trade Unions and we join them in opposing this bill.”

The bitterness towards unions behind the Bill is borne out by new figures from the Office of National Statistics which show that strikes are at a historically low level.

Last year there were just over 150 stoppages compared with just over 1,200 thirty years ago.

Nearly two-thirds of strikes last for just one or two days.

Most disputes were settled without recourse to strike action - the number of strike ballots (650) was four times the number of stoppages that occurred.

Comparisons with countries in the European Union show that industrial disputes indicate in the UK stand at just over half of the European average.

These proposals are an attack of the rights of trade unions and their members, and they are deliberately one-sided.

If they are not, then why is there no provision in the Bill that Tory Ministers and MPs are required to give Parliament two weeks' notice of their intention to speak in debates and what they intend to say in their speeches or on social media?