Vera Baird DBE KC

Writer, Lecturer, Parliamentary Consultant and Co-Director of Astraea: Gender Justice

Trade Union Bill.

Trade Union Bill
18th September 2015

A few days ago, Parliament debated the Trade Union Bill. I expressed my grave reservations that the Bill gives the regulator (the certification officer) powers to impose fines on unions of up to £20,000 and would involve the police in dealing with union requests.

As the government continue to cut the budgets of police services across England and Wales, they are pushing ahead and consulting on ludicrous plans contained within the Trade Union Bill. I want local police officers out on the streets of Northumbria doing what they do best – protecting and supporting our communities, not arresting someone because unions haven’t given two weeks’ notice if they intend to use a loudspeaker or carry a banner during a strike

The world of Twitter, Facebook and blogs is to allow people to express their opinions freely, as long as the comments are not defamatory, why do the police need to know what unions are planning to post on social media during a strike two weeks in advance is a waste of police time

Since 2010, Northumbria Police force budget has been reduced by nearly £120 million, yet the demand of police officers and support staff continue to grow. It is expected that the Chancellor will announce even further cuts to the force budget in a few weeks’ time.

The Prime Minister and Home Secretary need to get real. Attacking civil liberties and creating more unnecessary work for the police is not needed. MPs need to vote this bill down when it reaches the House of Commons for its second reading. Police Officers here in Northumbria have better things to do than use valuable time and resources to supervise peaceful pickets and social media.



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