UNISON Cymru Wales officials will travel to London on Monday to meet Welsh peers in the Houses of Parliament and secure their support against the UK Conservative government’s Trade Union Bill.
Working closely with Labour peer Baroness Eluned Morgan, UNISON Cymru Wales has written to Labour, Liberal Democrat, cross-bench and Conservative peers, convening a meeting to explain the seriousness of the threats the Bill poses and why it is essential that lords vote to oppose the legislation.
“The Trade Union Bill is a regressive step that will harm good industrial relations and the key health and local government employers in Wales have written to the UK government to tell them that,” says UNISON Cymru Wales head of halth Dawn Bowden.
“The Tories want to severely restrict the rights of unions to campaign to improve our workplaces and society solely for ideological reasons.
“Imagine a world without maternity rights, pension provision, a minimum wage, holiday and sickness entitlements and even weekends.
“Trade unions fought for and won these benefits and all this is at risk if this anti-democratic bill goes forward.
“We want to enlist the help of as many peers as possible to defeat the legislation. The Conservatives should focus on the real problems we are facing and drop the Trade Union Bill.”
Labour peer Baroness Morgan said added: “Like UNISON Cymru Wales members and millions of trade unionists across Britain, I believe that the UK Conservative government Trade Union Bill will make it harder for ordinary people to improve their working lives and maintain their pay and jobs.
“It cannot be right to attack trade unions in such a vicious manner when all the evidence shows that unions in Wales are working in partnership with employers to deliver better working conditions for all staff and better services for the public.
“Welsh employers don’t want this to happen either and like the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board chief executive, many have written to the UK government stating that the Bill could mean industrial relations deteriorate.
“We are encouraging peers to vote to protect the voice of working people and trade unions.”
The Welsh government stands in complete contrast to the UK Conservative government.
Labour, Plaid Cymru and Liberal Democrat Welsh Assembly members have First Minister Carwyn Jones AM has pledged to introduce counter legislation to overturn whatever proposals he is able as a devolved administration.
However, even with the Welsh government’s strong opposition to the Bill, without the support of politicians in Westminster to defeat it, there will still be a transition period when the Bill’s severe provisions apply to trade unions in Wales, curbing their ability to campaign progressively and represent individuals in workplaces across the country.