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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Tories go further then Thatcher on Trade Union reform

The controversial Trade Union Bill has hit the headlines again today for reasons that rank and file Tories might be rather uneasy about.

The Independent on Sunday reports that the minister steering this bill through the House of Lords has admitted she has only just read the document that set the framework for organised labour and political funding for the past three decades.

The paper says that peers were stunned when Baroness Neville-Rolfe, a business minister and former Tesco director, said the first time she had seen a crucial exchange of papers between Lord Tom King and the late Lord Len Murray from 1984 was earlier in the week. Tom King was of course the then employment secretary, whilst Len Murray led the TUC. They agreed what became known as the “Statement of Guidance”.

This document ensured that union members were made aware of their rights regarding the funding of political parties, spelling out that they could opt out of having their membership fees handed over to Labour. In return, Lord King agreed not to bring forward legislation that would change the rules around political funding.

So, even Margaret Thatcher, whose clampdown on union power was a hallmark of her premiership, stepped back from introducing legislation that would force members to opt in to having their fees used for political funding. The present Tory Government is now considering introducing the opt-in, expected to cost Labour millions in funding.

It is interesting that what was good enough for 'Maggie' is no longer sufficient for David Cameron and his Tory party.
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