20 January 2017
Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Govermment in Wales, Mark Drakeford, yesterday told the Welsh Assembly that Westminster has an “ideological determination to attack the rights of organised labour”.
The Minister was speaking to the Trade Unions (Wales) Bill, which was published this week to repeal sections of the Trade Union Act 2016 (TUA) that pertain to public services in Wales.
Drakeford clarified that the Bill would disapply sections 3, 13, 14 and 15 of the TUA and countered Westminster’s argument that the new laws did not fall under the remit of devolved powers as legislation around employment and industrial relations are controlled from the central government.
Some of the laws Wales seeks to repeal include ministerial power to limit facility time for public service workers; an additional support threshold of 40% on industrial action ballots in “important” public services; and restrictions of the popular check-off system for deducting trade union subs from wages.
Drakeford said that the Bill “trespassed directly into the conduct of devolved public services” and that “significant elements” of the TUA relate to “unambiguously devolved responsibilities” such as health services and education.
The Supreme Court has been “clear”, he claimed, in its ruling that laws that affect devolved services fall under the remit of the Welsh Assembly, even if they principally relate to areas of the law that have not been devolved, such as labour law.