Joe calls on North Ayrshire Councillors to oppose the Tories Trade Union Bill, not just in words but tough action.
On Monday the Tories Trade Union Bill received its second reading. This Bill is an attack on the ability of working people to organise and fight for better wages, better terms and conditions and safer workplaces. It must be opposed by all people who value fair work.
I am proud to be a trade unionist and I am determined to stand shoulder to shoulder with ordinary trade unionists from across the UK in opposing the Bill. As a Councillor I am determined to do whatever I can do to stop it.
Some of the proposals within the Bill will clearly have an impact on public services which are devolved. Labour in Wales have made it clear that they will use a legislative consent motion in an attempt to prevent the Tories imposing these changes on them. The SNP Scottish Government should do likewise.
However, North Ayrshire Council should also take a stand against this Bill. It will after all have a fundamental affect on its industrial relationship with workers and trade union representatives.
We should first of all make a clear commitment that, in the event of industrial action by council staff, we will not use agency workers to weaken the position of the workers as the Tories wish us to do.
Secondly, we should defend the collection of union dues through the check off arrangement which not only provides the Council an income but is part of our working agreement with the trade unions.
Similarly, we should support trade union facility time which helps prevent industrial disputes in the first place by promoting a positive working relationship between the Council as an employer and its staff.
We should make it clear to the Tories that North Ayrshire Council will not co-operate with their politically driven, ideological attack on our trade unions and will not implement the parts of the Bill that will directly impact on the Council and its workers. This is a stance that other local authorities are due to take and North Ayrshire Council should join them in opposing the Bill in this way.
Over the coming weeks I look forward to campaigning with the Scottish Trade Union Congress and local trade unionists against the Bill. If we are to defeat it though we need to build a broad alliance against it – SNP Councillors recently refused my offer to support Unite the Union's 'Fight for 5' campaign which calls for decent work for all (a Living Wage, safe and secure employment, training opportunities, guaranteed hours and the right to trade union representation) but hopefully they will support moves to oppose this Bill, not just in words but also through their actions.