Tag Archives: trade union bill

Lord Paul Tyler writes…Liberal Democrats force government climbdown on Trade Union Bill

This evening sees the culmination of five months’ work, led by the Lib Dems, which will finally knock some fairness into the Government’s proposals for reforming the relationship between Labour and the Trade Unions.

Late last year, the Left was raging – with some justification – about a Tory plot to remove up to £6m a year of funding from Labour, by restricting the right of trade unions to collect donations through a political fund.  While the principle of requiring individual ‘opt-in’ consent for such donations is an important one – with which Lib Dems agree – the Government’s endeavour was a naked, one-sided attempt to hobble the opposition.  Real party funding reform cannot be for only one party.  It must also restrict millionaire and big business donations too.

The question our team had to ask was how to amend these elements of the Trade Union Bill without it sounding like simple special pleading for anti-Conservative forces.  Clearly, our party is in a good position to start with, since the Lib Dems do not benefit from trade union political funds.  But we still needed to demonstrate in as non-partisan, dispassionate a way as possible that the what the Government proposed was simply lop-sided and self-interested.

So on the day before the House broke up for Christmas our small Lib Dem Bill team discussed a little-used mechanism to corral principled opposition to the party funding clauses of the Bill.  I suggested that we try to shift this issue to a special Select Committee of the Lords, where Ministers, the Unions, democracy academics, and all the parties could make their case.

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Lord Paul Tyler: Lib Dems stop Tories skewing party funding law in their favour

Naturally, with so much media and public attention on the Budget, few with have spotted some major defeats for the Government in the House of Lords last night.

Most significantly our Liberal Democrat initiative to stop the Tories skewing party funding legislation in their favour was given huge support – across the House, with even some Conservative Peers rebelling or abstaining.   Ministers’ plans suffered a resounding defeat – 320 to 172, a majority of 148

This is our best chance in this Parliament to get the parties thinking again about the wider issue of funding democracy in a way which prevents wealthy individuals and organisations buying preferential access, influence and patronage. I set out some broad objectives for those talks in an emergency motion for the conference ballot (pdf – pg 18) last weekend.

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Clegg slams Tories over Trade Union Bill

The Yorkshire Post reports Nick Clegg’s evidence to a parliamentary committee looking at Party funding. He accused the Tories of trying to rig the system in their favour.

Mr Clegg said: “I just think this is fundamentally wrong to do this in such a partisan way.”

The Sheffield Hallam MP said he was no ‘sepia-tinted romantic’ when it came to trade union and Labour links as he had personally suffered from ‘appalling’ use of funds for political purposes in his ‘own Sheffield backyard’.

However he said he was alarmed that Conservative proposals are directed at one party and as Deputy Prime Minister he spent years blocking such measures being introduced.

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Burt: Leaked letter shows some of problems with Tory politically motivated attack on Trade Unions

This weekend a leaked letter from Skills Minister Nick Boles showed that the Government is considering conceding certain points on the Trade Union Bill in the face of almost certain defeat in the House of Lords. Liberal Democrat BIS spokesperson Lorely Burt had this to say:

We are pleased that the Government apparently recognises the need to allow electronic balloting of trade union members if they want to impose voting thresholds on unions. We hope they will therefore listen to Liberal Democrats who have tabled amendments to the Trade Union Bill to allow electronic voting.

This leaked letter shows just some of the problems with this politically motived attack on trade unions. This is not about good industrial relations, it is about attacking one of their political opponents.

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Tyler: Lib Dems will stop Tories loading the dice

We told you on Sunday about Paul Tyler’s involvement in an attempt to defeat the Government in the Lords over the Trade Union Bill:

The Independent has an interesting story about the Liberal Democrats and Labour working together to defeat the Government on the party funding aspect of the Trade Union Bill. When you read the story, it’s a real collaboration, with Paul Tyler drafting the amendment now in the name of the Labour leader in the Lords, but the headline makes it look like we are simply supporting the Labour effort.

Ahead of the vote this afternoon, Paul said:

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Amendment written by Paul Tyler may defeat Government on Trade Union Bill

The Independent has an interesting story about the Liberal Democrats and Labour working together to defeat the Government on the party funding aspect of the Trade Union Bill. When you read the story, it’s a real collaboration, with Paul Tyler drafting the amendment now in the name of the Labour leader in the Lords, but the headline makes it look like we are simply supporting the Labour effort.

Liberal Democrat peers are to help Labour water down the Trade Union Bill, which will dramatically reduce the party’s funding, in an amendment on Wednesday.

The support should give Labour enough votes to pass an amendment that would mean parts of the Bill that relate to political funding will be separated out and examined by a cross-party committee of peers. This was originally drafted by Lord Tyler, the Liberal Democrat constitutional reform spokesman, who wants the committee to examine broader political funding…

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Lib Dems expose Tory self-interest on the Trade Union Bill

Yesterday, Lorely Burt, Cathy Bakewell, Ben Stoneham, Barbara Janke, Chris Rennard and I all spoke on the Government’s Trade Union Bill.

As our BIS spokesperson, Lorely gave an excellent run down of the issues,

and of the Liberal Democrat approach to them, pointing out the flaws in the parts of the Bill which deal with strike action. She argued the measures in the Bill will entrench positions on either side of an industrial dispute, and take workers more frequently and quickly down the path to industrial action as a result.

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Vince Cable co-authors anti Trade Union Bill article with TUC chief

Well, there’s a turn-up for the books. A former Business Secretary teams up with the head of the TUC to warn about the draconian effects of the Trade Union Bill introduced by the Government.

In an article for the Guardian, Vince Cable and Frances O’Grady say that the Bill is trying to resolve a problem that doesn’t exist. Anyone who was brought up in the 70s would surely find it hard to argue that today is even remotely as bad as it was then. They say:

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  • User AvatarGlenn 23rd Aug - 8:59am
    Endlessly repeating "advisory" doesn't make it so. It was stated throughout the campaign that the government would act on the result of the referendum whatever...
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    So Mack, A supporter of Jeremy and a proud socialist who has to vote Depeffle or Fromarge. Some socialist are you, all that matters to...
  • User AvatarRoger Lake 23rd Aug - 8:35am
    Michael BG and Thomas: (More apologies from me -- I am Roger above. My name used to appear automatically, and I did not realise the...
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    @Mack "Oh, come on. Have you forgotten the list of people who have been convicted and fined and even gone to prison for breaking electoral...
  • User Avatarpmknowles 23rd Aug - 7:55am
    @Mack Because the referendum was advisory a lot of the sting was taken out of what the Electoral Commission could do in terms of punishment....
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