Humberside FBU fears Trade Unions Bill will prevent strike action

Published: Thursday 28th May 2015 by KCFM

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Humberside Fire Brigades Union has criticised the Government’s new Trade Unions Bill, which it says will make it almost impossible for unions to stage strikes.

The Government says that the bill, which was announced in the Queen’s speech yesterday, is designed to “protect essential public services against strikes.”

It includes the introduction of a 50% voting threshold for union ballot turnouts, as well as new time limits on mandates for strike. In the case of public service disputes, there will also be the additional requirement that at least 40% of those eligible to vote are in favour of industrial action.

Brigade Secretary Rich Walker told KCFM that the bill looks like an attack on their ability to stage walkouts:

“Things like the new threshold they’re introducing are designed simply to stop trade unions being able to get mandates for strike. The thresholds will be so high that it will be almost impossible.

“One of the key elements is the issuing of time limits on ballots, which will mean that unions will have to constantly re-ballot their members in order to continue striking, but we don’t know how long that time limit will be yet.”

Mr Walker also disagreed with the Government’s claim that the changes will protect public services:

“Most of the strikes that firefighters take are to protect fire stations and keep them open, so that flies in the face of the Government’s objective straight away.

“The Government is bringing this legislation in simply to stop trade unions from taking lawful strike action.”

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Published: Thursday 28th May 2015 by KCFM

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