From the TUC

Triple whammy defeat for government over #TUbill

16 Mar 2016, by in Politics

Members of the House of Lords voted to defeat the government three times inside three hours tonight during the report stage debate for the trade union bill.

The votes concerned substantial amendments to the bill over electronic balloting for strike votes (introduced by crossbench Peer Lord Kerslake), central government-imposed caps on facility time for union reps in local public services (introduced by Labour’s Baroness Hayter), and restrictions on the funds used by unions for political campaigning (introduced by crossbencher Lord Burns, following the recommendations of his select committee – more detail from Nicola here).

Peers delivered a very clear verdict, with the government defeated by heavy margins (majorities of 139, 88 and 148). Several Conservative Peers made principled speeches in support of the amendments, voting against the Government or abstaining.

These significant votes follow a previous government defeat on the bill in the House of Lords in January, when Peers voted to establish Lord Burns’ committee to look into the issues around union political funds.

The TUC’s Frances O’Grady said:

“This is an important result for the 6 million trade union members across the UK. But it’s a bad day for the government. These defeats should be the nails in the coffin of the whole trade union bill.

The government has tried to force this bill through Parliament, ignoring objections from all sides of the House. Once again, peers have rightly held them back.

The government needs to think again and withdraw this damaging and divisive bill.”

We’re expecting more debate and amendments to follow at third reading in the Lords, probably in mid-April, before the bill returns to the Commons for MPs to debate their response to Peers’ amendments.

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2 Responses to Triple whammy defeat for government over #TUbill

  1. Douglas Murdoch
    Mar 18th 2016, 2:47 pm

    I only hope we can convince enough Tory MPS to accept these amendments.

  2. Kenneth Toulson
    Apr 13th 2016, 12:02 pm

    In what way can these defeats lead to nails in coffin of the whole Trade Union Bill? What happened to Kil the Bill rhetoric? If that was the TUC’s real goal it wouldn’t be pleading for concessions in amendments. It’s about time the TUC were straight with working people.The pleading for amendments in the TUC’s ‘Kill the Bill’ was a far cry from that original rhetoric. But it wasn’t surprising, the signs had been out there for everyone to see.

    Early on Frances O’Grady had said, ‘The campaign against the trade union bill is at a critical stage. The parliamentary process has moved into the House of Lords, where we have “our best chances of defeating it” or “getting changes pushed through”.’

    Then, Lord Monks, the former General Secretary of the TUC, says about the bill,

    ‘…Labour Peers will do all what they can to “counter the worst of it…” …”We can only but hope”.’

    After that I read in Update section of PCS People that, ‘PCS is working with its all-party parliamentary group to persuade members of the House of Lords to “support amendments to the bill”.’

    It seemed they had already given up just when they should have been fighting tooth and nail to kill the Bill altogether.

    To add insult injury after a week long litany of protesting, petitioning and pathetic pleading through the TUC’s ‘Hearts Union’ Trade Union Bill campaign, all that the petition managed to scrape up is a derisory 203,979. That’s 203,979 people out of the UK’s 30 million ‘economically active’ people including 6 million union members and we were expected to believe that was a success!

    The Trade Union Bill was just one of the direct consequences of the trade union movement’s continued craven failure to meaningfully oppose the Tories’ vicious policies.

    So we might ask in what way is the trade union movement leading a serious campaign and how does these repeated retreats supposed to give confidence for working people to fight back?