The Trade Union Bill 309


A government which claims the right to kill its own citizens with no judicial process on the basis of the vote of 24.4% of the qualified electorate, legislates that workers cannot strike without the support of 40% of their qualified electorate because strikes can inconvenience people. Not as inconvenient as being sliced to pulp by flying metal, I should have thought.

David Davis, a decent Tory, said that some of the provisions of the Trade Union bill are Francoist, and he was not exaggerating. You can read the dispassionate official analysis of the bill by Parliament staff here. One of least publicised yet appalling aspects of the bill is the arbitrary power given to an anti-strike witchfinder, the Certification Officer. He is specifically given the powers of the High Court to compel individuals to give evidence or produce documents, and to make arbitrary judgements.

That extreme authoritarian stance is reflected throughout the bill. It is more publicised that notice must be given of picketing, with names reported to the police and identifying armbands worn, with letters of authority from the union to be there which the Bill states must be produced not only to the Police but to anybody who asks on request. This gives employers a whole new avenue of harassment of strikers.

The provision that 14 days notice must be given of any strike is obviously designed to reduce the effectiveness of strike action. The right to bring in agency staff to replace agency workers is not in the Bill, but the parliamentary staff analysis indicates it is intended to bring that in under secondary legislation – power delegated to the Secretary of State. That obviously is designed to combine with the 14 day notice to make strikes ineffective. The regulation of what individuals say about the industrial dispute on social media is so repressive as to verge on the incredible.

It is obvious the Tory government serve the agenda of corporatism, pure and simple. But it is perhaps surprising they are so entirely open about it. If you do not have the chance to withdraw your Labour, you are a slave. In the days of real slavery in Jamaica, foremen or gangmasters were generally slaves themselves (as opposed to the southern United States where they were generally poor whites). Very often the black gangmasters were extremely brutal to the slaves under them, imparting floggings with gusto to try to cement themselves in the favour of their white masters.

That is the function that token Muslim Sajid Javid plays in this Conservative government, flogging the workers with more gusto than his Old Etonian masters would dare to do. Plus they wouldn’t want to get blood on their trousers. Javid is a most enthusiastic Uncle Tom determined to tick all the establishment boxes. He certified the Trade Union Bill as compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, when it is plainly in contravention of Article 11. But his most spectacular effort to fit in with his Tory masters came at the Conservative Friends of Israel where ignoring completely the terrible suffering, humiliation and repression of the Palestinian people, he declared

“Mr Javid, who described himself as a “proud British-born Muslim”, announced that if he had to leave Britain to live in the Middle East, then he would choose Israel as home. Only there, he said, would his children feel the “warm embrace of freedom and liberty”. For him, only Israel shared the democratic values of the UK.”

Sajid Javid promotes measures rightly called Francoist because he is a person it is perfectly reasonable to call a fascist.

Sajid Javid Hankers After "Israel's Warm Embrace"

Sajid Javid Hankers After “Israel’s Warm Embrace”


309 thoughts on “The Trade Union Bill

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  • Mary

    Jeremy Corbyn, at the TUC conference, has just vowed to fight the Bill in committee and at its third reading, and said he would repeal it if in power in 2020.

    ~~

    Who just said ‘That was not like a party leader’s speech. It was more like a chief executive speaking’?

    Why Sky News’ Ms Burley and their political wallah, Joey Jones.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    The guy is an investment banker. As there are no former communists there are no former investment bankers. These type of people will always smell the blood and come up with the ideas on how to make profit from it.

  • falloch

    Someone posted on FB that 40+ Labour MPs abstained in the vote yesterday, which meant it passed. But I can’t find a site that gives the breakdown of the vote. Any suggestions?

  • Mary

    Completely agree with what you say about Javid. A traitor on many fronts including his working class origins.

    The early life section of his Wikipedia page makes interesting reading where his pathway through the investment banking system is described. A salary of £3m pa ultimately.

    But all is forgiven for we read that he has impeccable manners. So much more praiseworthy than his contribution to shafting the workers.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    It is obvious the Tory government serve the agenda of corporatism, pure and simple. But it is perhaps surprising they are so entirely open about it.

    Now count the number of times any Tory spokesman refers to being the party of working people. Goebbels’ Big Lie trumps the self-evident fact – not so surprising after all. But people are catching on.

  • YouKnowMyName

    the hard cold electronic identities of the *actual people* present at a demo are, of course, routinely recorded by the police & agencies using a device known as a ‘StingRay’ or ‘fake base station’ with a range of kilometres from point of deployment (all according to previous Guardian articles). Its use may well be legal in the UK, I don’t recall its use either being approved publicly or challenged openly – bit of a grey area?

    I have mates who work in UK building these & similar devices and they won’t talk to me about it, at all.
    The armbands are just for über-Kontrol, I mean STASI not taxi-firms

  • Jeff

    “The right to bring in agency staff to replace agency workers is not in the Bill, but the parliamentary staff analysis indicates it is intended to bring that in under secondary legislation”

    First Great Western trains is already using agency staff and newly employed ‘managers’ trained in safety procedures to work trains during strike days. London Underground is following a similar plan.

  • AAMVN

    The contempt the Tories show for working people is quite staggering and getting worse year on year. So much for the Old New Labour softly softly approach. The rich and powerful are waging class war – so should their victims.

  • Sixer

    Mary at commment #1.

    I was watching via the BBC. And almost died laughing when Corbyn finished and they went back to whichever bot’s reading today. “Well, he didn’t say what he told us he was going to say,” was all she could splutter. Presumably, the trailed remarks fed to the BBC by his team so they could pre-write some commentary on them, weren’t entirely accurate.

    People have been wondering what the Corbyn media strategy is going to be. Perhaps it’s disinformation! Ha!

    (New commenting but not new reading the comments, so taking this opportunity to wish your health well.)

  • Rose

    It is obvious the Tory government serve the agenda of corporatism, pure and simple. But it is perhaps surprising they are so entirely open about it.

    If anything good can be said about the current bunch then it’s surely that they are open. At least you know what you’re getting. It’s written on the tin. I and many others were suckered in 1997 by the Blair brigade and silly sods that we were it didn’t fully dawn until after 2003 how we’d been duped. There must have been a few people who weren’t taken in but their voices just weren’t heard. We know better now thanks to sites like this.

  • Pan

    “A government which claims the right to kill its own citizens with no judicial process on the basis of the vote of 24.4% of the qualified electorate, legislates that workers cannot strike without the support of 40% of their qualified electorate because strikes can inconvenience people.”

    So much for upholding and promoting British “core values”, one of which I am quite sure has always been, and remains, a sensitivity to (and general sense of outrage at) blatant lack of fairness.

    What chance would a bill like this have of being enforced if the ‘ordinary people’ were made aware of how totally unjust this is?

    Imagine a broadcast media channel centred on genuine “core values”, with speakers as eloquent as Craig Murray (and Edward Snowden, and Bill Binney…).

    I know. Dream on!

  • Daniel

    “I and many others were suckered in 1997 by the Blair brigade and silly sods that we were it didn’t fully dawn until after 2003 how we’d been duped.”

    Better late then never. I saw through Blair from day one back in 1994 when he was elected as Labour leader. All the people I knew, and I mean ALL (except close family), were in a state of hypnosis during that period, as they were with the WMD thing. To this day, I will never understand how so many people were apparently duped by both.

  • lysias

    For a glimpse of the warm embrace of freedom and liberty enjoyed by Palestinian citizens of Israel, see Ilan Pappe’s The Forgotten Palestinians: A History of the Palestinians in Israel.

    (As a non-Jew, Javid could not even enjoy the doubtful privileges of Palestinian citizens of Israel, as he could not become a citizen.)

  • Pan

    Lysias
    3:43 pm

    “Ilan Pappe’s The Forgotten Palestinians: A History of the Palestinians in Israel.”

    Thanks for that.

  • fedup

    The regulation of what individuals say about the industrial dispute on social media is so repressive as to verge on the incredible.

    First they came for Gypsies. I stayed silent.
    Then they came for “illegal” asylum seekers. I stayed Silent.
    Then came for Muslims. I stayed silent.

    Now I am forced into silence.

  • Herbie

    If the Tories are the party of corporate interests, then what was nuLab doing supporting them as well.

    What’s the point in having both main parties supporting the same interest.

    Three if you include the Libdems.

    And most mainstream media.

    It’s nice seeing the back of these Red Tories.

    Certainly waited long enough.

  • MJ

    Daniel: I thought the first year or two of the Blair government was pretty decent, with a solid left-wing agenda. We got the minimum wage, the windfall tax, restoration of union rights to GCHQ staff and increased funding in education and health. Then of course Blair followed Corbyn’s lead, spoke seriously to Sinn Fein and the IRA and sorted out the N Ireland issue.

    It started to fall apart shortly thereafter but credit where credit’s due.

  • craig Post author

    Herbie

    The answer to that question lies in Tony Blair’s bank account (and Jack Straw’s, Alan Milburn’s, Peter Mandelson’s, David Miliband’s etc etc)

  • Republicofscotland

    Sajid Javid has the audacity to say in the press today, “At the heart of this bill (trade union bill) it’s all about democracy and accountability.”

    The Tories wish to deregulate, but when it comes to the unions, of which the Tories fear the opposite applies.

    Those Tory b*stards are determined to destroy the working mans rights which our forefathers fought long and hard to achieve, at the likes of (The Battle of George Square) for a shorter working week.

    Everyone should be entitled to a decent wage, safe working conditions, and no victimisation of staff…etc. But creeping regulations pushed by this government are trying to destroy our working rights.

    The Tories along with Labour are also guilty of trying to impinge our civil rights, using the fear of terrorism to enact new bills which reduce our rights.

  • Herbie

    Yes, Craig.

    Looks as though they viewed politics and public service as a business opportunity.

    The American approach. Revolving doors and whatnot.

    Very worrying potential for corruption in such a view.

  • Pan

    MJ –

    “We got the minimum wage, … restoration of union rights to GCHQ staff and increased funding in education and health.”

    Pitiful, derisory minimum wage.

    GCHQ – God bless them – the eyes and ears of our surveillance state.

    Funding to education – the bulk of it went to Microsoft and other IT companies.

    Funding to health – the bulk of it going into private coffers (big pharma, ‘consultants’ etc.)

  • Pan

    Herbie
    4:15

    “The American approach. Revolving doors and whatnot.

    Very worrying potential for corruption in such a view.”

    A potential very much realised.

  • Republicofscotland

    Meanwhile, politicians never fail to disappoint and Jeremy Corbyn is no different. Corbyn has appointed Maria Eagle to Business Secretary despite her being Pro-Trident. Corbyn also backed Tom Watson as his deputy even though he’s Pro-Trident as well.

    These kind of appointments kind of make a mockery over Corbyn’s lifelong association with CND. I know politicians need to compromise but, it has me wondering what else is up for offer.

    Also I don’t know if it’s just mischief making by Chuka Umunna, but he claims he turned down a role in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet because Corbyn wouldn’t commit to a campaign to promote staying in the EU.

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