Scottish Labour will take action in the Scottish Parliament next week against the Tory Trade Union Bill, Kezia Dugdale said today. The Labour Party will bring a Legislative Consent Motion before the Parliament in order to deny the Bill competence over Scotland’s devolved services.
The move comes as Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has written to Nicola Sturgeon calling on her to support the move and to also back Labour’s attempt to block the bill at Westminster.
Scottish Labour Leader, Kezia Dugdale MSP said:
“Labour has been fighting against the Tory’s Trade Union Bill since day one. And we will continue that fight. But it’s clear that the SNP Government have the power to stop the worst of the Trade Union Bill in Scotland now.
Next week, Labour will call for a Legislative Consent Motion in the Scottish Parliament and call on the Government to take action now. Labour-led councils across the country – including in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh – have said they will not co-operate with the Trade Union Bill. It’s time for the SNP Government to do the same.
Trade Unions have always played a pivotal role for workers and employers, and they need to continue to be able to do that in the future. Without trade unions not only would workers’ rights be undermined, our society would be weaker for it.”
UK Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has written to the First Minister:
Nicola Sturgeon MSP
3 Jackson’s Entry
6th November 2015
Thank you for your letter dated 23 September 2015. We share your concern over the Conservative Government’s shameful assault on workers’ rights in the Trade Union Bill. This is not only an unprecedented attack on UK workers and trades unions, but also on businesses and employers, which could damage the social fabric and ultimately undermine the UK economy.
The trade union movement was founded on the principles of unity and solidarity and the commitment to stand together in the face of adversity. For me these principles still hold true and I want to protect workers’ rights across the UK.
Kezia Dugdale will lead our opposition to the Bill in Scotland, by calling for a Legislative Consent Motion (LCM) that would allow the Scottish Parliament to reject this Bill as encroaching upon and adversely impacting devolved areas and services. As the Welsh Labour First Minister, Carwyn Jones, has stated, legal precedent for such action has already been established by the Supreme Court Judgement on the Agricultural Sector (Wales) Bill, which ruled that subject to certain conditions relating to its impact on devolved services, a UK Government Bill may still be subject to an LCM, even if it can also be classified as relating to matters that are otherwise reserved. I trust I can rely on the Scottish Government to take similar action with regard to the issue of an LCM in Scotland.
We believe that the best way to defeat this Bill is to confront it directly and expose its many shortcomings. My colleague, Angela Eagle, the Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and her team, tabled substantial amendments at Committee Stage to safeguard workers’ rights across the UK; and at Report Stage next week for example, have tabled amendments ensuring that the provisions regarding the publication requirements and the reserve powers to cap facility time, as well as the prohibition of check-off will not apply to services devolved to the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government, the Northern Irish Executive, or to services devolved to the Mayor of London or English local authorities. I trust I can rely on the support of SNP MPs for all Labour’s amendments.
Working across parliaments, we can demonstrate the extent to which the Trade Union Bill is fundamentally incompatible with the Sewel Convention. By showing that the Bill cannot be enforced in either Scotland or Wales, we will expose it as legislation that is ill-conceived, poorly drafted and unfit for purpose.
Further to this aim, I hope you will adopt Scottish Labour’s position and urge all Scottish local authorities of all political persuasions to refuse to implement the UK Government’s reforms.
The Trade Union Bill is a concerted attack on the hard won rights and privileges of workers across the UK. It demands a collective response. I hope you will resist the divisive approach of the Conservative Government and join with me, the Welsh and Northern Irish Executives, and workers and unions across the UK, in staunch opposition to the Bill.
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Leader of the Labour Party