East Sussex County Council set to oppose Trade Union Bill

Trevor Webb originally submitted the motion calling on East Sussex County Council to oppose the Trade Union Bill
Trevor Webb originally submitted the motion calling on East Sussex County Council to oppose the Trade Union Bill

The Government should ‘scrap’ the Trade Union Bill - according to a motion due to be approved by the Tory-led East Sussex County Council.

The original motion, submitted by Trevor Webb, Labour group leader, recognised the positive benefits that arise from the council’s relationship with recognised trade unions, and believed that the proposed legislation would ‘damage’ the connection between employers and employees in East Sussex.

Cllr David Elkin, East Sussex County Council lead member for resources could approve a motion expressing the authority's opposition to the Trade Union Bill

Cllr David Elkin, East Sussex County Council lead member for resources could approve a motion expressing the authority's opposition to the Trade Union Bill

According to Mr Webb if enacted it would allow agency workers to be used as substitutes for striking workers, introduce very high thresholds for industrial ballots, severely restrict the right to picket and peacefully protest including organising campaigns on social media, potentially reduce trade union facility time, and require union members to ‘contract in’ to their union’s political fund every five years.

This motion has been revised slightly by officers and could be approved by David Elkin, lead member for resources, at a meeting on Tuesday November 24.

If approved on Tuesday it will request that the leader of the council writes to Business Secretary Sajid Javid stating the council’s opposition to the bill and requesting that the Government ‘scrap the proposed legislation’.

The amended motion reads: “As a major employer in the area, this council welcomes the positive benefits that arise from the relationship that we have with recognised trade unions, and seeks to encourage trade union membership in its own workforce, as well as promoting the benefits of trade union membership in the county as a whole.

“This council believes that the relationship between employers and their employees in East Sussex through their collective representatives would be damaged by the proposals and calls on the Government to scrap the Trade Union Bill and all associated secondary legislation.”

Mr Javid has previously stated that the bill is not a ‘declaration of war’ against the unions, but was necessary to stop ‘endless’ threats of industrial action.

The Conservative Party Manifesto for the 2015 general election promised to ‘protect the country from disruptive and undemocratic strike action’.

But an officers’ report states that ESCC has enjoyed a positive relationship with local union representatives, resulting in the ‘effective management in a number of large scale change programmes’.

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