Opinion

Stop viewing the trade unions as pantomime villians

The government's Trade Union Bill makes no sense and will hamstring union members' right to strike, says Cathy Warwick

Less than three months into the new parliament and MPs are off on their summer break.

Despite the brevity of this legislative window, the government still found time to introduce the Trade Union Bill. If passed, this law would hamstring union members’ right to strike by wrapping them up in the kind of red tape the government normally claims to despise.

Out goes the simple principle that union members can strike only after holding a fair and independently conducted ballot, in which a majority of votes are cast in favour of strike action and in comes a series of minimum threshold hurdles that ballots must also clear.

At least 50% of all members must cast a vote and, for certain key sectors such as health, at least 40% of all those entitled to vote must back the strike action.

These thresholds can sort of make sense

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