Theresa May’s Trade Union Act 2016 comes into force today, Wednesday 1 March. The legislation will make it significantly harder for workers to take action against their employers.
New ballot thresholds require a turnout of over 50%. In ‘important public services’ not only must a majority of voters support action, but 40% of those eligible to vote must vote ‘Yes’ too. Many MPs failed to get such an endorsement, even without the cumbersome ballot process unions have to follow.
The number of days’ notice unions have to give of a strike has doubled to 14. Striking workers are now required to nominate a picket supervisor in advance. Ballot mandates now expire after six months, or nine months by employers’ permission.
All of this will make taking industrial action more difficult.
Yesterday, on the eve of the Act coming into effect, Ian Allinson, the only grassroots candidate for Unite General Secretary, participated in a nation-wide strike at Fujitsu.
The dispute at Fujitsu is over 1800 proposed job cuts across the UK, union recognition, pay, and pensions.
“in our dispute at Fujitsu we have already had to adjust our plans because of the new law.”
“These laws are designed by a Tory government to make things easier for the employer. They are laws that make it harder for those fighting low pay, job cuts and attacks on pensions to resist.”
“Our unions cannot allow themselves to be shackled by these laws, we cannot allow this to prevent members defending their livelihoods. Ordinary members will find themselves outside the law. Unite should be prepared to back them and defy these unjust laws rather than see our members’ terms and conditions run into the ground. This requires serious preparation, now.”
“It’s important to say we would not be here today were it not for the pitiful campaign by the unions, including Unite, against the Trade Union Act”.
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Ian Allinson has accepted nomination for Unite General Secretary, having secured the required support from branches and workplaces. Further information about his campaign is at www.ian4unite.org. Voting takes place 27 March – 19 April.
The other candidates in the election are Len McCluskey, the current General Secretary, and Gerard Coyne, Regional Secretary for the West Midlands.
For background on Ian Allinson’s position on union rights go here: http://ian4unite.org/workers-rights-need-fighting-for/
Further information about the Fujitsu dispute is here: https://ouruniontest.wordpress.com/fujitsu-national-dispute/
Other photos of Ian Allinson are available via http://ian4unite.org/resources/