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Monday, September 14, 2015

The Tory Trade Union Bill is an illiberal mess

Unshackled from the coalition and with a majority in Parliament, the Tories are starting to flex their muscles. The Trade Union Bill, which is being debated next week would never have got past the Liberal Democrats in the last government and with good reason. At least one Conservative MP agrees.

The Independent reports that David Davis, a former shadow Home Secretary and noted civil libertarian has strong reservations. He says that Tories’ trade union crackdown resemble measures enforced under General Franco’s Spanish dictatorship. In particular he has criticised the idea that individual people on picket lines should be forced to register with the police.

The paper says that a YouGov poll has found that 65 per cent of the public are against provisions in the bill to bring temporary agency staff to break public sector strikes. The Bill includes sweeping provisions such as proposals to ban strikers from using social media and to introduce higher voting thresholds for industrial action.

There are also new requirements for employers to be given longer notice of strikes and for workers to re-ballot themselves after four months of agreeing to take action.

Many of these measures are a disgrace and undermine basic human rights and longstanding civil liberties. It is the further extension of the surveillance state and should be opposed.
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