Austin Macauley 19 October 2015

Leave Scotland out of Trade Union Bill, UK Government told

The Scottish Government has asked that Scotland be excluded from the controversial Trade Union Bill, arguing it contradicts policy north of the border.

Cabinet secretary for fair work skills and training, Roseanna Cunningham, has made the request in a letter to the UK Government’s skills minister Nick Boles.

In the letter, she warned the Bill would ‘undermine the effective engagement of trade unions across Scottish workplaces and in particular across the Scottish public sector’.

She added: ‘The proposals are in stark contrast with this Government’s approach, set out through Working Together review response and the Fair Work Convention, which are looking to build a stronger, more collaborative approach to the relationship between unions, employees and employers. Our strategy reflects that of many of the most successful European countries.

‘It is our view that all the measures within the Bill in combination will affect employees’ right to strike, change the relationship between unions and organisations negatively, and lead to greater confusion amongst employees. This directly impacts across Scottish business and especially our devolved public services in Scotland. I believe this is not a constructive platform upon which we can pursue our ambitions for Scottish workers.

‘I have significant concerns the Bill as currently drafted leaves far too much scope for abuse in the future. The detail of much of the Bill is to be set out in regulations, and there would be no formal opportunity for the Scottish Government to influence such regulations. Therefore the approach we are trying to develop could be seriously undermined.

‘I have considered the Bill very carefully and, given the extent of the risk to us around future use of this legislation, the only solution I see is to ask that Scotland is excluded from the entire Bill.’

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