17 January 2017
The Welsh Assembly, which warned during the passing of the Trade Union Act, that it would act to overturn sections of the new law pertaining to public sector workers, has now published a Bill to repeal Westminster’s decisions.
Welsh Labour yesterday (16 January 2017) published the Trade Union (Wales) Bill , which will overturn decisions made by Westminster to reserve Ministerial power to intervene in facility time for public sector workers; the imposition of an extra 40% support threshold to be placed on industrial action ballots in public services deemed (by the Conservatives) to be “important”; and restrictions on the popular check-off system of deducting trade union subs from wages.
The UK government argued during the passing of the Trade Union Act that decisions around employment law are not devolved matters and Wales would have to bow to the decisions of Westminster even though most Welsh politicians opposed the new laws.
Yesterday, Westminster reiterated this line of reasoning, saying: “We will examine the Welsh Assembly’s proposed legislation when it is introduced but we remain clear that decisions over industrial relations law is a matter for UK government.”
Local Government Secretary for Wales Mark Drakeford said: “We have always said that the Trade Union Act was unnecessary and would lead to more confrontational relationships between employers and workers, undermining rather than supporting public services and the economy.
“Social partnership is founded on respect for the work of trades unions and the rights of their members. In Wales, employers and the trade union movement work together constructively. We are not prepared to let the Trade Union Act undermine the approach we have built on this side of the border.
“Not only is the Act damaging and divisive but it interferes with devolved policy and the powers held by the National Assembly for Wales.”
He also told BBC Wales that the proposed Bill had the support of employers as well as of unions.