Trade Union Bill campaign will be the priority

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UNISON’s campaigning priority over the next few months will be the Trade Union Bill currently “worming its way through the House of Lords,” the union’s national executive council heard at its meeting in London today.

“Our aim is to make sure this legislation is not carried, rather than concentrate on what we’ll do after it’s carried,” Dave Prentis stressed in his general secretary’s report to the meeting.

“This is achievable. We can do it.”

UNISON is working closely with other unions and the TUC on the campaign, the NEC heard, particularly on issues around industrial action and balloting,

This includes lobbying for electronic and phone voting – plus properly scrutinised ballot boxes in workplaces – to be allowed, which would really increase participation in ballots.

But union members can be proud of their role in the campaign to date, including the UNISON turn-outs at October’s national demonstration in Manchester and November’s lobby of Parliament.

That saw “very large numbers of UNISON members, many of whom queued for two to three hours to see their MP,” recalled Mr Prentis.

But now the focus is on the next stage of the campaign – and any member, branch or region which has a relationship with a member of the House of Lords should use it to push the case against the bill, and lobby on particular attacks such as ballot thresholds, union reps’ facility time and on DOCAS – members’ right to pay their union subs by having them deducted from wages.

On the wider campaigning front, the NEC urged branches and members to gear up for the TUC week of action on the Bill on 8-14 February. You can find out more about the week on a dedicated campaign website at