Commenting on David Cameron’s Trade Union Bill progressing through the UK Parliament, South Scotland Liberal Democrat MSP Jim Hume said:
“The Trade Union Bill is not so much a bill to aid the operation of effective and democratic trade unions as it is a means to neuter them and to prevent them from properly representing their members.
“The Bill is almost entirely made up of measures that Conservatives proposed in Government and which were blocked by Lib Dems in coalition. Our absence in the Westminster Government means that Trade Unions have lost a valuable ally on protecting employment rights.
“Liberal Democrats have serious concerns about many of the provisions in the Bill. Our biggest concern is the provisions around union officials having to monitor a picket and submit their plans, including things like social media activity well in advance. Not only does this make smaller picketing harder, but the information requirements in terms of requiring armbands to be worn and contact details to be logged with the police also have civil liberty implications.
“We are also concerned about the 50% threshold requirement. ACAS have already said that if these measures are put in place and workers are constricted in their ability to use the threat of strike action to get employers round the table, then this may lead to grievance’s being made in other ways, such as more regular legal action.
“Unison have already said they will withdraw from partnership working in the NHS should the Bill become law. This would mean them refusing to engage constructively in workplace disputes, instead taking grievances directly to court, wasting court time and Government resources in the process.”