Why I say no to the Trade Union Bill

Frank Keogh HNISCBy Frank Keogh, regional officer, West Midlands

This Tory Government, the new workers party, what a pathetic joke that is by the way, want to restrict our ability to protect our member's pay, pensions and terms and conditions at work, limit our ability to strike and restrict our ability to campaign on the issues which matter to our communities.

We need to stand up against this pernicious attack on our ability to organise and defend our members, to be the effective voice within our communities and to protect the vulnerable in our society. We need to work together with our sister Trade Unions the Labour Party and the general public to stop this bill which represents an attack on both our human and democratic right to organise collectively.

The bill includes legislation that requires a minimum of 50 % of union members to vote yes in strike ballots before action can take place while denying unions the ability to ballot members by phone or online balloting.
But for these Tories online ballots are perfectly acceptable when it suits them,  Zac Goldsmith has just been selected the Tory mayoral candidate for London by an online ballot. But the government won't allow union members to vote online during strike ballots on the grounds it is "not safe".
In my opinion if online balloting is good enough Tory Party members, why is it not good enough for working people use it? Why are unions being saddled with twentieth century postal balloting methods that make it harder to boost participation in industrial democracy?
This is hypocrisy on a grand scale, online voting is the way to bring union balloting into the digital age and help ensure all workers have a voice in the world of work.  In today's fast moving world,where it's possible to bank on line, book a holiday on line , receive a text from your local NHS Trust to remind you about an appointment or even buy a coffee with your phone, why is this government reluctant to end the ban on unions running ballots online?

Health workers, Teachers, Tube drivers, or any worker never takes strike action because they feel like it or enjoy it, they take it as a last resort in response to actions from their employer. In the public sector in the last few years there has been an upsurge in action, but this was a response to vicious attacks on services, pensions , pay and terms of employment of dedicated public servants.
The Trade Union Bill is not just an attack on Trade Union members it's an attack on every worker and everyone in our society, we need to fight it with every breath we take, we cannot and must not let this Tory elite silence our voice.
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