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B468 - Restrictions of Trade Unions Activity Act 2012 (Second Reading)

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    B468 - Restrictions of Trade Unions Activity Act 2012, TSR Government



    Restrictions of Trade Unions Activity Act 2012

    An Act limiting the rights of trade unions.

    BE IT ENACTED by The Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, in accordance with the provisions of the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-

    1. Member Restriction
    (1) It will no longer be legal for trade unions to recruit members under the age of 16
    (2) All members must opt-in to union membership
    (3) All members must opt-in to political party affiliation via union membership fees

    2. Striking
    (1) Businesses will now be allowed to discipline those employees who choose to strike how they see fit
    (2) Employers may not differentiate between strikers in terms of punishment
    (3) Strike ballots must achieve a minimum turnout of 50% of members along with a super-majority vote in favour of strike action
    (4) Notification of strike action must be given a minimum of 90 days in advance

    3. Disclosure
    (1) All unions must publish the number of registered members
    (2) All unions affiliated with political parties must publish the number of members who have opted-in to affiliated membership

    4. Commencement, Extent and Short Title
    (1) This act will come into force immediately following royal accent
    (2) This act will extend to all of the United Kingdom
    (3) This act will be referred to as the 'Restrictions of Trade Unions Activity Act 2012'

    Notes Whilst this government recognises the benefits of collective bargaining we believe that with the enactment of B438, employees should no longer be protected by the law when taking strike action.

    This government also feels that trade unions should no longer be legally able to recruit members under the age of 16.

    This government also seeks to create an environment of greater transparency regarding political party and strike affiliation.
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    I don't want to see this bill receive 'Royal Accent', so it's a no from me.
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    Aye from me.

    <3 x
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    Like the amendments, definite aye from me.
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    (Original post by Birchington)
    I don't want to see this bill receive 'Royal Accent', so it's a no from me.
    Could you explain your opposition?

    Whilst i am completely in favour of collective bargaining and therefore the existence of unions, striking is akin to blackmail.
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    (Original post by Birchington)
    I don't want to see this bill receive 'Royal Accent', so it's a no from me.
    HAHA good eye
    (Original post by Rakas21)
    Could you explain your opposition?
    M. Premier, please re-read what he wrote and look at 'Paragraph 4, Line 1'

    (He may also be against it in general but that part does need correcting )
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    1.(1). is not acceptable, unless you accept a bill to immediately ban political party membership for all those under 16. Which I rather suspect you won't, incidentally, as it throws out half the MHoC. In other words, you're picking on unions while ignoring thousands of other organisations which do the same. 2.(2). is just silly. Why do unions have to magically have 50% turn-out? In every single other occasion when a group goes to the polls in this country, we do not require that. Again, unless you're willing to show you are consistent in your principles and say that council elections or mayoral elections which receive a 50% turn-out are valid (which I bet you won't), it immediately becomes clear you're singling out unions. This has nothing to do with democracy and everything to do with being obstructionist. In addition, super-majority? Why? If 64% of a union vote for strike action and 36% against, who on earth are you to deny them? What is the logic behind this? There is absolutely no logic behind it what-so-ever; you're just singling out unions unfairly. Why have you picked 90 months for 2.(4)? You've not provided any reasons in the notes, so I'm left to assume it's just a way of creating a totally arbitrary block to them. As for 3.(2)., that shatters the very principles of the 1872 Secret Ballot Act, one of the principles at the heart of British democracy: what a man does in the privacy of the ballot box is his business and his business alone. You can't force people to reveal their party affiliation like that when many will have reasons for not wanting to do so. That is their choice to be made without pressure or undue influence. You may argue this only reveals the number; but that may often in small niche industry markets be enough to work out a strong idea of the gist of who is and is not a member.

    Absolutely not. A disgusting bill, dressed up in making things "more transparent" but really just trying to give the unions a massive kicking.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    Could you explain your opposition?

    Whilst i am completely in favour of collective bargaining and therefore the existence of unions, striking is akin to blackmail.
    I believe the opposition is primarily orthographical rather than ideological.

    While you're here, some changes that I think need to be made include:

    Accent to Assent (though this has already been covered).

    A defined level of supermajority required (66% is customary but a supermajority can be anything from 51-99%) Though the removal of this requirement might be better as it is rather unnecessarily restrictive in my opinion.

    'As they see fit' is a rather dodgy phrasing, I would prefer to see it phrased as 'for breach of contract with any appropriate measure'.
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    90 days, why? Is 28 days not enough for the company to make provisions? Turnout requirements, why? - that's counting abstentions as No's. Why not under 16's? As they see fit is also a very dangerous (and very sloppy) piece of terminology. What if unions negotiate the right to strike in the contract? This law would allow companies to ride roughshod over an agreed contract, which is barmy, considering your very purpose of this is to stop the breach of contract.

    This from Cyclops Rock and JPKC in the last reading sum it up perfectly:

    (Original post by CyclopsRock)
    I wouldn't support this bill, as I don't like the mucky muddying of the legal waters. I think that Unions should, simply, have no legal basis whatsoever. That's not to say they're illegal - I think they should be completely legal (and, thus, be allowed to recruit children if they think that's a good use of their time). I just don't think that 'unions' as an entity should have any special protection beyond that which an individual worker receives. I don't think they should have to have x turnout to vote, or even that they should need to have a ballot on whether to strike. I don't think they should need to fulfil any criteria at all. But I also think that they should have no special protection when they strike, and that negotiations between them should be no different to negotiations between any employee and their employer.
    (Original post by JPKC)
    This is actually very close to my own opinion on the matter. The Government should not tell trade unions how to organise themselves - they are voluntary groups, there's absolutely no mandate. Workers only need the state's protection when unions don't work, and unions only stop working when the state imposes punitive restrictions on them like the balloting rules and such like.
    This is a No No No from me.
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    (Original post by TopHat)
    1.(1). is not acceptable, unless you accept a bill to immediately ban political party membership for all those under 16. Which I rather suspect you won't, incidentally, as it throws out half the MHoC. In other words, you're picking on unions while ignoring thousands of other organisations which do the same. 2.(2). is just silly. Why do unions have to magically have 50% turn-out? In every single other occasion when a group goes to the polls in this country, we do not require that. Again, unless you're willing to show you are consistent in your principles and say that council elections or mayoral elections which receive a 50% turn-out are valid (which I bet you won't), it immediately becomes clear you're singling out unions. This has nothing to do with democracy and everything to do with being obstructionist. In addition, super-majority? Why? If 64% of a union vote for strike action and 36% against, who on earth are you to deny them? What is the logic behind this? There is absolutely no logic behind it what-so-ever; you're just singling out unions unfairly. Why have you picked 90 months for 2.(4)? You've not provided any reasons in the notes, so I'm left to assume it's just a way of creating a totally arbitrary block to them. As for 3.(2)., that shatters the very principles of the 1872 Secret Ballot Act, one of the principles at the heart of British democracy: what a man does in the privacy of the ballot box is his business and his business alone. You can't force people to reveal their party affiliation like that when many will have reasons for not wanting to do so. That is their choice to be made without pressure or undue influence. You may argue this only reveals the number; but that may often in small niche industry markets be enough to work out a strong idea of the gist of who is and is not a member.

    Absolutely not. A disgusting bill, dressed up in making things "more transparent" but really just trying to give the unions a massive kicking.
    Your issue with 3.(2) is easily corrected. First, re-read it. You'll find that it requires the number, not the names, of members to be published. This is to make the 50% turnout rule possible. Otherwise you'd find that a lot of unions would suddenly announce that they had far fewer members than previously thought if a strike ballot got low turnout.

    As to the justification for a 50% turnout rule, strikes with tiny support are damaging to industry, who must prepare for a much larger strike, at great cost. This bill would ensure that unions could not damage industry unless they had at least a quarter of members onside. Hardly an unreasonable level of support required. The rule essentially assumes that if a member couldn't be bothered to return a ballot on strike action, they are unlikely to be bothered to strike.
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    You've not read my post; I quite clearly said:

    You may argue this only reveals the number; but that may often in small niche industry markets be enough to work out a strong idea of the gist of who is and is not a member.
    I could argue the same: governments with tiny support are damaging to the population. Unless you are willing to say all elections, all across the country, in all bodies, are void unless a figure of 50% turnout is achieved, you are clearly picking on unions and singling them out. This is not acceptable. I mean, even the Libertarians are calling bull on that one.
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    (Original post by jesusandtequila)
    90 days, why? Is 28 days not enough for the company to make provisions? Turnout requirements, why? - that's counting abstentions as No's. Why not under 16's? As they see fit is also a very dangerous (and very sloppy) piece of terminology. What if unions negotiate the right to strike in the contract? This law would allow companies to ride roughshod over an agreed contract, which is barmy, considering your very purpose of this is to stop the breach of contract.

    This from Cyclops Rock and JPKC in the last reading sum it up perfectly:

    This is a No No No from me.
    This act seeks to discourage strike action which is disruptive to industry and far from the nobel purpose of collective bargaining, by extending the time period not only do you make sure that businesses have enough time to find a replacement but you give more time for negotiation and ultimately act as a deterrent for strike action.

    I will discuss the age issue with my cabinet.

    If a union can negotiate such a clause with an addendum that the employer will not sack the worker then that is what will happen, this act does not prevent that.
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    (Original post by chrisawhitmore)
    I believe the opposition is primarily orthographical rather than ideological.

    While you're here, some changes that I think need to be made include:

    Accent to Assent (though this has already been covered).

    A defined level of supermajority required (66% is customary but a supermajority can be anything from 51-99%) Though the removal of this requirement might be better as it is rather unnecessarily restrictive in my opinion.

    'As they see fit' is a rather dodgy phrasing, I would prefer to see it phrased as 'for breach of contract with any appropriate measure'.
    Done, my spell checker is american which is why i often ignore it.

    I shall consult with my cabinet regarding this.

    Done, much better phrasing.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    Done, my spell checker is american which is why i often ignore it.
    Hate to poke a big hole in your defence but 'Assent' is in the US Dictionary/Spell Checkers....
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    This act seeks to discourage strike action which is disruptive to industry and far from the nobel purpose of collective bargaining, by extending the time period not only do you make sure that businesses have enough time to find a replacement but you give more time for negotiation and ultimately act as a deterrent for strike action.
    Whatever you might think about strike action, when unions fail is when the state imposes all these restrictions on them, and because they fail, we give them other rights that they shouldn't have. You can't just remove one side of this.
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    (Original post by tehFrance)
    Hate to poke a big hole in your defence but 'Assent' is in the US Dictionary/Spell Checkers....
    :facepalm2:

    He ignores his spell checker because it's American, so it doesn't matter whether it comes up or not.
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    (Original post by jesusandtequila)
    :facepalm2:

    He ignores his spell checker because it's American, so it doesn't matter whether it comes up or not.
    If it wasn't in the American Dictionary/Spell Checker, it would come up as a mistake and as it is, it would not come up as a mistake so his defence is useless as there is nothing to ignore.
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    (Original post by tehFrance)
    If it wasn't in the American Dictionary/Spell Checker, it would come up as a mistake and as it is, it would not come up as a mistake so his defence is useless as there is nothing to ignore.
    But he didn't type Assent...so whether Assent is in the spell checker is completely irrelevant.
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    (Original post by TopHat)
    You've not read my post; I quite clearly said:

    I could argue the same: governments with tiny support are damaging to the population. Unless you are willing to say all elections, all across the country, in all bodies, are void unless a figure of 50% turnout is achieved, you are clearly picking on unions and singling them out. This is not acceptable. I mean, even the Libertarians are calling bull on that one.
    As the bill title specifically names trade unions then yes it does single them out.

    As the arguments against your point were well made by Chrisa i shall break it down to pure principal...

    Unions were created to represent the labour force via collective bargaining and this is a fine pursuit which i have not sought to discourage in the slightest however over the years the unions have strayed from their original purpose and now see striking as the answer to everything. Rather than repeatedly going back to the negotiating table and eventually making a compromise they seek to disrupt industry.

    You will know doubt say something along the lines of 'everybody has the right to withdraw their own labour' and that is indeed correct however there is absolutely no reason why they should be prevented from receiving disciplinary action from their employer except in cases where unions have been able to agree such a clause with their employer.

    If an employee wishes to strike then go ahead, however they should feel the full force of the consequences of their actions.
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    (Original post by TopHat)
    You've not read my post; I quite clearly said:



    I could argue the same: governments with tiny support are damaging to the population. Unless you are willing to say all elections, all across the country, in all bodies, are void unless a figure of 50% turnout is achieved, you are clearly picking on unions and singling them out. This is not acceptable. I mean, even the Libertarians are calling bull on that one.
    Now, if you knew anything about the Libertarians, you would know that we rarely do anything collectively. As it happens J&T's views on this are actually quite close to my own, but never assume a party consensus based on any Liber's views.

    Also, you seem to be confusing a referendum with an election. Votes on strike action, being a yes/no on action rather than an election of an official, are more akin to a referendum than an election. I would be happy to see a 50% minimum turnout imposed on all referenda (though TSR referenda would probably have to be excused, or none would have a chance, given the number of accounts on the site and the relatively small draw of the MHoC)
Updated: July 17, 2012
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