'Bad bosses charter' jibe

THE Government’s proposed Trades Union Bill was labelled a charter for bad bosses as councillors backed a motion to oppose it.

The Labour group’s submission called the bill an “ideologically-driven” attack on the freedom of workers to take strike action.

It would increase the threshold for unions calling strikes and remove a ban on agency staff covering striking workers.

Cllr Richard Price (pictured), who tabled the motion at Wednesday’s council meeting, said: “Trade unions are a force for good. They’ve brought us two-day weekends, eight-hour days, retirement ages, occupational health and safety and equality laws.

“The Government is clearly intent on attacking our right to strike. It’s extremely worrying in a free and democratic society.

“It is, in essence, a bad bosses’ charter. The Government are changing the rules and it’s an attack on our hard-earned liberties.”

Councillors were given special dispensation to discuss the motion because so many would have to declare an interest because of union connections that a debate would not have been practical.

Cllr Robert Taylor, who seconded the motion, said: “The bill is just another thing in the Government’s ongoing crusade to eradicate unions. They want to send us back to the days of master and servant.”

Cllr Emma Hoddinott, Labour, pointed out that many of those affected would be low-paid workers looking after children and the elderly.

Deputy leader Cllr Gordon Watson pointed out that the bill would not allow ballots over the internet because of security concerns — yet that was how the Tories picked their Mayor of London candidate.

Cllr Greg Reynolds, UKIP, said: “I’ve always supported trade unions. If they behave responsibly, it’s a win-win situation for employers and the unions themselves.”

The council’s sole Conservative, Cllr Chris Middleton, was the sole member to vote against the motion.

The Government says the bill will improve union transparency and ensure strikes are based on stronger mandates.

Another motion opposing the Housing and Planning Bill was also passed at the meeting.