Trade Union Bill exemption call

19 Oct 2015 12:54 PM

Official request made for Scotland to be excluded from entire bill.

To protect our approach of working in partnership with unions, Scotland should be excluded from the entire Trade Union Bill.

Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work Skills & Training Roseanna Cunningham has made the request in a letter to the UK Minister for Skills Nick Boles.

In her letter Ms Cunningham said:

“I have made it clear on several occasions I believe the Trade Union Bill proposals have the potential to undermine the effective engagement of trade unions across Scottish workplaces and in particular across the Scottish public sector.

“The proposals are in stark contrast with this Government’s approach, set out through Working Together review response and the Fair Work Convention, which are looking to build a stronger, more collaborative approach to the relationship between unions, employees and employers. Our strategy reflects that of many of the most successful European countries.

“It is our view that all the measures within the Bill in combination will affect employees’ right to strike, change the relationship between unions and organisations negatively, and lead to greater confusion amongst employees. This directly impacts across Scottish business and especially our devolved public services in Scotland. I believe this is not a constructive platform upon which we can pursue our ambitions for Scottish workers.

“I have significant concerns the Bill as currently drafted leaves far too much scope for abuse in the future. The detail of much of the Bill is to be set out in regulations, and there would be no formal opportunity for the Scottish Government to influence such regulations. Therefore the approach we are trying to develop could be seriously undermined.

“I have considered the Bill very carefully and, given the extent of the risk to us around future use of this legislation, the only solution I see is to ask that Scotland is excluded from the entire Bill.

“I believe this is the only way in which we will be able to maintain the integrity of our more progressive approach of working in partnership with unions. And I therefore ask for an alternative extent clause to be introduced as one of the UK Government’s amendments to the Bill.”

Notes To Editors

On behalf of the Scottish Government, Ms Cunningham, has asked our Parliamentary Counsel’s Office to draft an alternative extent clause for the Bill, which we believe would achieve this aim and ensure the Scottish approach to industrial relations and, in particular, devolved Scottish public services remain guided by the Scottish Ministers and the Parliament. It is as follows:

“20 Extent

(1) Except as provided for in subsection (2), an amendment or repeal made by this Act has the same extent as the enactment to which it relates.

(2) Nothing in this Act, including any amendment or repeal made by it, extends to Scotland.”