We, the hard-working people providing public services in this country, need our MPs to focus on the real problems the country faces, not on waging irrelevant battles against unions. Give us the respect we deserve: stop fighting our right to be represented and supported; come and talk to us about how we can work together for a better future.
The bill undermines the right to strike
The bill subjects trade union members to unprecedented levels of civil and criminal penalties, regulations and technical and monitoring requirements that will effectively end the right to strike.
The option to go on strike is an important democratic right because, although it is only ever used as a last resort, it provides people with another opportunity to put pressure on their employers to solve disagreements.
When UNISON members vote to go on strike and lose a day’s pay it is always as the last resort. When asked how they felt about going on strike UNISON members say things like,“Unhappy that it had to come to this kind of action, but felt it was right to protect my standard of living”, “if it is absolutely necessary and all other means have not succeeded then willing to do so”, It’s a necessary evil. We shouldn’t have to go on strike, but it may be the only way to get things sorted”
The use of agency workers during strikes undermines the right to strike and could make public services unsafe
Employers will be allowed to bring in agency workers when their employees are on strike, which undermines the right to strike and could impact on the safety and quality of the services normally provided by trained and qualified staff.
People need to be able to trust that staff providing services are properly trained and qualified, that may not be the case with people who are brought in for a day to replace striking staff. Not only will it put those agency workers in a difficult and stressful position as they are asked to cover a service in a workplace they are not familiar with, it may also compromise the safety of the services that are provided.
The bill undermines the right to peaceful protest and could result in ASBOs for people on picket lines
When UNISON members protest during strikes they already comply with a detailed Code of Practice but the bill would allow the police to issue ASBOs to people on picket lines, it will give employers the ability to use an injunction to stop the protest, it will require a picket line organiser to wear an identifying badge or armband and be at the picket line at all times or contactable by the police at short notice, and it will require all activities to be announced at least 14 days in advance including details as specific as the words in Facebook posts.
Peaceful protest is an important part of an open and democratic society and there should be no place for a law that makes criminals of people making their voices heard in this way.
Trade unions improve the UK for everyone
UNISON and other trade unions are a fundamental part of UK society and have had a positive impact on all citizens through achievements like: a national minimum wage, the abolition of child labour, improved worker safety, improving living standards by reducing the number of hours in the working week and encouraging a healthy work/life balance, improved parental leave, equality legislation, minimum holiday and sickness entitlements.