Welsh government bill to reverse Trade Union Act

The Welsh government has introduced a bill to overturn controversial trade union laws due to come into effect UK-wide on 1 March.


The CSP campaigned long and hard against Westminster’s Trade Union Act

If the Welsh bill is passed, significant restrictions on public-sector trade unions imposed by the UK government’s Trade Union Act will be reversed in Wales.

These restrictions have been vigorously opposed by the CSP and other unions. They include a 40 per cent ballot threshold for industrial action for public services employees, changes to the way subscriptions are collected and curbs on the paid time that employees can spend on union activities, such as representing members.

Ruth Jones, the CSP’s senior negotiating officer for Wales, was delighted by the Welsh bill saying: ‘It will make sure that we will retain rights that are endangered in England.’

She explained that the Trade Union Act threatened the Welsh social partnership agenda. Under this agenda, Ms Jones cooperates with employers and the government to discuss and resolve issues affecting physiotherapy staff.

The Welsh bill was introduced on 16 January 2017 and is expected to pass into law in August.

Hugely important

Wales TUC general secretary Martin Mansfield said: ‘This hugely important bill is about protecting the ability of unions, employers and the Welsh government to work in partnership.

‘The government is today putting partnership into practice. The Welsh way works in preventing disputes and industrial action.

‘Without this bill, the UK Trade Union Act would turn back the clock on devolution and threaten to undermine our existing social partnership approach.’

Local government secretary Mark Drakeford said the government had always argued that the Trade Union Act was unnecessary and would lead to more confrontational relationships between employers and workers.

The government believed it would undermine rather than support public services and the economy, he said.

This story was updated on 30 January to help clarify matters, following readers’ comments.

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