Trade Union Bill Committee

Written evidence submitted by James Jeavons (TUB 03)

1. This is submitted in my own personal capacity as an interested member of the public.

2. I support Sections 2 and 3 (requirement for 50% turnout and 40% support) if these requirements are extended to other ballots involving those seeking election to public office. If this is not the case, then this is an excessive burden on Trade Unions given that those in public office have more of an impact on the day to day lives of the public. Any turnout and support requirement must be the same for all such ballots in the interests of fairness.

3. Section 9 (2) seems excessive and I am concerned that the union picket supervisor could be made responsible for the behaviour of others involved in the picket. Each individual must obey UK law and remain responsible for their own actions, so I would change the word ‘supervise’ to ‘facilitate’.

4. I question whether any political parties could meet the conditions specified in Section 11? If they cannot, then this section is hypocritical and the rules for political parties and trade unions should match.

5. I do not support Section 13 as this opens up the possibility of unnecessary meddling in the functioning of public services based on political ideology. Working Together between employers and trade unions is the best way to prevent industrial action happening in the first place and providing facility time as required to meet the needs of good industrial relations a central part of this. Restricting facility time will reduce the ability of trade union representatives to do their job and industrial relations will suffer, making strike ballots that are in no ones’ interest more likely.

6. I question whether UK political parties have to comply with Section 14 and 15 (Annual Returns)? If not, again, this is hypocritical and rules for both should match.

Summary

7. I support most provisions of the Bill on the grounds that most well run Trade Unions should be able to comply with the requirements set out and that it is fair that such requirements are met given the potentially disruptive nature of the action.

8. I oppose some specific provisions of the Bill as I feel they are excessive either because they exceed the requirements laid down for political parties or make individuals responsible for the actions of others that they should not reasonably be asked to control.

9. I feel that any excessive and hypocritical pieces of legislation damage the reputation of politicians and the political system in the UK. Fairness of the rule of law is a fundamental principle of the ‘union’ that forms the UK and anything that disrupts that balance is ultimately damaging at a time when the existence of the UK is still under intense scrutiny.

September 2015

Prepared 14th October 2015