Unite calls for devolution of employment law to tackle...

Unite calls for devolution of employment law to tackle Tory trade union attacks

12 May 2015

Unite Scotland has called for the full devolution of employment law to the Scottish parliament today (Tuesday 12 May) after new Tory business secretary Sajid Javid announced plans for a new generation of attacks on trade union rights. 

The proposals will impose a 50 per cent turnout requirement for strike ballots and restrictions on the use of agency staff to break strikes will be lifted, exacerbating some of the most restrictive trade union laws in Europe while giving opportunistic employers an open goal to attack terms, conditions and collective agreements.  

Unite has previously argued for the employment law agenda to be transferred to the Scottish parliament in its contributions to the Smith Commission and it will make representation tomorrow to the first minister Nicola Sturgeon, arguing that the regressive Tory plans are incompatible with the founding principles of the Scottish government’s Fair Work Commission. 

Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “I will be making it clear to the first minister tomorrow that the employment law agenda should be fully devolved to the Scottish parliament, not only to grow shared prosperity in Scotland but to spearhead the anti-austerity agenda. 

“It’s no surprise that the Tories have moved quickly to continue the Thatcher anti-trade union agenda at the earliest opportunity – the warning signs were there in the previous coalition – and this will be an unmitigated disaster for working families struggling to deal with the cost of living. 

“It is fact that the assault on trade union and collective rights during the 1980s and early 90s proved a significant driver in the increase of UK income inequality over the last 30 years; there is a direct correlation between trade union decline and the rising gap between the rich and the poor. 

“We have worked with the Scottish government on the Fair Work Commission to advance the role and responsibilities of trade unions across Scottish employment and the first minister has said that the Commission’s work is at the heart of their strategy to promote economic growth and equality. 

“If the rhetoric is to become reality then the Scottish government will support our views and agree that these regressive plans are incompatible with fairer employment and a just society.”   


For further information please contact Peter Welsh in Unite Scotland Communications on 07810 157931. 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.