Ministers urged to oppose UK trade union reforms

Written by Tom Freeman on 25 August 2015 in News

Scottish Government urged to protect Scottish civil servants from trade union reforms

Scottish Government Ministers are being urged to ‘stand shoulder to shoulder’ with their own staff in the face of upcoming trade union reforms from Westminster.

PCS, which represents civil and public servants across the UK, will use a rally by the Scottish Trades Unions Congress (STUC) tonight to call on Finance Secretary John Swinney and Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training Roseanna Cunningham to publicly oppose the UK Government’s Trade Union Bill by not applying its reforms to their own staff.

The new Trade Union Bill, which formed part of the Conservative election manifesto, is designed to curb the influence of trade unions. Among proposed restrictions it will introduce a 50 per cent threshold on strike ballot turnouts.


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PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka, who will address the rally, said: “The trade union movement will oppose every facet of this Bill which is in ideological attack on workers everywhere. The Scottish Government should play a leading role and oppose any moves to implement the Bill in Scotland”.

The call will be echoed by STUC General Secretary Grahame Smith who will use his speech to condemn the planned restriction of ‘check-off’ – where members have their union fees directly deducted from their wages.

“We will have a situation where Ministers sitting in Westminster will be able to tell the Scottish Government or Glasgow City Council or the NHS in Scotland, which has been operating a very effective partnership arrangement with the unions, including having workers representatives on heath boards, how much in can invest in ensuring good and effective industrial relations with its recognised unions,” he will warn.

Cunningham said she had written to UK ministers to explore the application of the Bill in Scotland.

“We encourage our staff to join and play an active part in an appropriate trade union and believe that the current check-off and facility time arrangements facilitate this.

“We confirmed last year that the Scottish Government would continue to offer check-off and our position hasn’t changed,” she said.

Around 120 PCS workers are on strike this week at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh following the collapse of talks on pay rates for staff.

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