PCS Bootle Taxes members were among the thousands of trade unionists who travelled from across the UK on Monday for the TUC-organised rally and lobby against the Trade Union Bill. The bill, which has its third reading in the House of Commons on 10 November, is the vehicle for the biggest attack on the union movement for 30 years.
The bill, which unions believe is an attack on their ability to organise in the workplace and a threat to UK workers’ right to strike, has 4 main impacts on unions:
- placing further significant restrictions on the right to strike
- imposing significant financial constraints on the ability of affiliated and non-affiliated unions to run political campaigns
- abolishing check-off, the decades-old practice through which civil service unions deduct subscriptions from salaries
- adding significant administrative and financial burdens on unions.
Such was the clamour by union members to meet their MPs and urge them to vote against the bill, that the Union Solidarity International website reported that hundreds of trade unionists were locked out of the rally against the bill. There were also rallies in Dundee and Sheffield.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This bill is hypocritical, unworkable and possibly illegal, and nothing more than a vindictive attack on working people. We are committed to pursuing all avenues to ensure it is defeated.”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady told the rally: “The whole trade union movement is opposed to the bill. Our message to Tory MPs is simple: you are wrong, wrong, wrong.
“This is just the start of our opposition. We have right on our side and together we will win this fight.”
The Trade Union Co-ordinating Group, which comprises 10 unions, is holding a protest in Parliament Square at 6pm on Tuesday 10 November as the bill has its third and final reading in the Commons, before it is passed to the House of Lords.
Watch the video by the Institute of Employment Rights, where Professor Keith Ewing and John Hendy QC talk about the bill