Scottish Government
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Options to thwart UK TU bill considered

Debate on ‘flawed’ Westminster legislation follows Lords move.

No stone will be left unturned in our search to block the UK Government’s Trade Union Bill being applied in Scotland but only devolving full powers over industrial relations will see an end to the draconian measures proposed in the Bill.

That’s the stark message to be delivered in a parliamentary debate later today (Jan 26th) by Scotland’s Fair Work Secretary Roseanna Cunningham, who will call on all those opposed to the trade union bill to do everything in their power to ensure the devolution of industrial relations.

Vehement opposition to Westminster’s Trade Union Bill is expected in the Scottish Parliament to the ill-thought out UK legislation.

The debate follows the publication of a report by the Devolution (Further Powers) Committee, which questioned the UK Government’s view on competence and evidence to support the legislation’s proposed financial savings.

Describing the Bill as ‘flawed’, the Committee have echoed COSLA’s view that this legislation is an ‘unnecessary and unjustified imposition, which could ultimately lead to more industrial unrest across Scotland’.

The First Minister wrote to the Prime Minister last week to demand, at the very least, that all powers relating to industrial relations be devolved to Scottish Ministers. And similarly, the House of Lords raised their concerns, voting to ensure parts of the Bill get further scrutiny from a select committee following vigorous opposition.

Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training Roseanna Cunningham said:

“I want to reassure each and every worker in Scotland that we will leave no stone unturned and no route unexplored as we seek to block this exceptionally damaging legislation being applied in Scotland.

“The recent Devolution Committee report – prompted by a Scottish Government policy memorandum – on Westminster’s Trade Union Bill was scathing. This proposed legislation is a litany of errors, from its questionable purpose and competence to its lack of proper consultation, all intent on destroying the effectiveness of Trade Unions and Scotland’s good industrial relations.

“The recent intervention by the House of Lords is a welcome step, and which further underlines that this fundamentally flawed piece of legislation is unfit for purpose. However, it is crystal clear that it is the Scottish Parliament that should have powers over workplace relations. While both the Trade Union Bill and the Scotland Bill are still going through their passage at Westminster I call on all those opposed to the Bill to do everything they can push for those Bills to be amended and remove Scotland from the extent of the Bill.

“I have written to the Minister for State, Nick Boles MP on several occasions and the First Minister has engaged with the Prime Minister, but not only have they not been prepared to listen, they have been entirely unapologetic over the Bill’s contents. The Scottish Government will continue to oppose the Bill in the strongest possible terms.

“This Bill’s provisions - such as on curbing facility time and the abolition of check-off - are draconian and will wreak havoc on the positive workplace relations that we are continuing to promote in Scotland, exemplified by a decline of 84 per cent in the days lost due to strike action in Scotland since 2007. Wider Scottish society has been clear that it has no interest in its clauses.

“Today’s debate follows a session towards the end of 2015, when opposition in the chamber was overwhelming and a further debate was a key recommendation from the Committee report. I expect this afternoon’s voices to be even stronger in their opposition and it’s time for the UK Government to sit up and listen.”


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