I’ve been receiving a lot of letters about the Trade Union Bill.
Trade unions are valuable institutions in British society and dedicated trade unionists have a strong history of working hard to represent their members, campaigning for improved safety at work and giving support to their members when it’s needed. But it is only fair that the rights of unions are balanced with the rights of hardworking taxpayers who rely on key public services. It is wrong that politicised union leaders can hold the country to ransom with demands that only a small percentage of their members voted for; causing misery for millions of people and harming our economy too.
I am glad the Government will rebalance the interest of employers, employees, the public and the rights of trade unions by introducing a 50 per cent voting threshold for union ballot turnouts. The requirement for there to be a simple majority of votes in favour would remain.
To tackle the disproportionate impact of strikes in essential public services such as health, education, fire and transport, a requirement will be introduced in addition to the 50 per cent minimum voting turnout so that 40 per cent of those entitled to vote must vote in favour of industrial action for it to take place. Action will also be taken to ensure strikes cannot be called on the basis of ballots conducted years before.
The Government will also introduce a transparent opt-in process for union subscriptions to political funds. Political donations should always be voluntary and this will help ensure that is the case.