Readers' letters - May 17

Unjust and undemocratic

Wednesday, 18th May 2016, 4:12 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th May 2016, 6:16 pm
TUC general secretary Frances OGrady poses in front of a digital poster ahead of a rally in Westminster last year to protest against the Trade Union Bill. A correspondent warns the bill  which has now been given royal approval  will be harmful for workers

The Tories’ Trade Union Act 2016 has been given royal approval.

This anti-union law will come into force in two months’ time once it receives royal assent. This unjust and anti-democratic law will make it harder for workers to win a legal mandate for action.

Under the new act, if you want to strike legally, there must be a 50 per cent turnout in a postal ballot. Within public services – health, education, fire, transport, border security and nuclear decommissioning – 40 per cent of those entitled to vote must back a strike for it to be legal.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

In the public sector, this means that on a 50 per cent turnout, 80 per cent must vote yes for industrial action.

We should remember that the current Tory Government only received 24 per cent from those eligible to vote in the last General Election. If the ballot thresholds they are forcing on trade unions applied to them, they would have no mandate to govern.

The idea in a House of Lords amendment, supported by Trade Unions, of electronic balloting was watered down by MPs.

There will now be a review of electronic balloting. But this only requires the government to publish a response, rather than a strategy to roll it out.

There were however concessions on check off, with the Tories abandoning plans to ban union subscriptions via payroll, provided the union pays for processing costs (which most unions already do). Other minor concessions included the notice period for strikes and the length of time a ballot remains valid.

Dropped from the legislation was the requirement for a picket line “supervisor” to wear a badge or armband. However they must still wear “something that readily identifies them”. This does nothing to address the fears that bosses could use this to victimise trade unionists.

Jeremy Corbyn has promised that one of the first acts of a Labour Government will be to repeal this legislation.

In the meantime however, if we are to fight against the brutal unnecessary cuts and the constant attacks on our pay by the posh boys from Eton, who think they are born to rule, then this law will have to be broken.

Mick Mulcahy

via email


Tories are to blame not EU

Absolutely nothing in Mr D Barker’s second paragraph, “One has only to look at craters in our roads etc” (WEP Letters May 14) has anything to do with the impact of the EU on us.

That situation he describes is exclusively and entirely the responsibility of our own Conservative-elected dictatorship and will continue as long as we go on voting for them.

The net cost of participation in the EU is well established. On the assumption that Mr Barkers ‘£30bn’ is intended to mean per annum (he doesn’t say so), it is not only wrong – even as a gross figure – it is a distortion.

The net figure is less than a quarter of that and the EU is NOT “bleeding the country dry”.

It has been an extraordinary success for Britain.

And so we go on with the ‘Leave’ brigade endlessly repeating what in many cases are downright untruths.

Finally we get Boris comparing the alleged unification aspirations of the EU to Hitler.

Apart from the general two- faced disgraceful nature of the comment, there is a crucial difference.

Any ‘political unification’ of Europe will come about by intensive negotiation, not by brutal military force.

Mike Turner

Address supplied