Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Trade union test for Labour MPs

The main focus of news coverage of the union-backed amendments to the Employment Bill being debated today has been on the attempt to enable trade unions to expel active members of far right political parties. This important question is also the main focus of what UNISON is saying on our website.
However, as others are pointing out, there are other amendments being debated, all of which would in one way or another weaken the constraints on the taking of lawful industrial action. These are all pretty modest.
Preventing employers seeking injunctions for technical breaches of industrial action balloting requirements if they have failed to cooperate with related information requests would level the playing field just a bit.
Tightening restrictions on the use of agency workers to strike break would even things up very slightly (since of course we cannot lawfully call out our colleagues who are already agency workers, we just have to rely on the best of them to respect picket lines).
Making it harder for employers to sack strikers – and giving workers the right to reinstatement if sacked in these circumstances would also moderate just slightly the imbalance in power between employer and employee – and help to address the breaches of international human rights treaties in current UK law.
The United Campaign have issued very straightforward briefings. MPs who support trade unionism will back these amendments to the Employment Bill.
Those who vote against will not deserve the support of trade unionists in any future election.

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