Labour Research January 2016


Holyrood fails to stave off Bill

An attempt by the Scottish government to block Westminster’s unpopular Trade Union Bill from becoming law in Scotland has failed.

The Bill will heavily impact on workers and their unions — limiting the right to strike, lifting the ban on the use of agency workers during strikes and forcing members to opt in, rather than out, of a union’s political fund.

The Scottish government argued that the Bill, which will also restrict facility time and ban check-off, would impact on employee relations in its devolved agencies.

However, Tricia Marwick the Presiding Officer, equivalent to the Speaker in the House of Commons, said legislative consent was not required.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon said that it was “absolutely outrageous that it can be passed in the wake of opposition from the Scottish Parliament”, and the Scottish government has said it would seek other ways to oppose the legislation (see feature pages 16-18).

Last month, Sturgeon shared a platform with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at a Scottish Trades Union Congress event in Glasgow opposing the Bill. 

Corbyn has given a pledge that his party would repeal the Tories’ trade union reforms and introduce a “positive charter” for workers’ rights.