Trade Union Bill represents major attack on civil liberties in the UK

07 September 2015

Liberty, the British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) and Amnesty International UK have today published a joint statement condemning proposals in the Government's forthcoming Trade Union Bill:

The government's plans to significantly restrict trade union rights – set out in the Trade Union Bill – represent a major attack on civil liberties in the UK.

By placing more legal hurdles in the way of unions organising strike action, the Trade Union Bill will undermine ordinary people’s ability to organise together to protect their jobs, livelihoods and the quality of their working lives.

It will introduce harsher restrictions on those who picket peacefully outside workplaces – even though pickets are already more regulated than any other kind of protest. Unions will be required to appoint picket supervisors who must wear armbands and carry letters of authorisation, the absence of which could expose their unions to legal action.

Further proposals out for consultation could mean unions are required to provide a protest plan to employers, police, and other State regulators, revealing in advance if they plan to use social media, including Twitter and Facebook during their campaign and what they plan to set out on websites and blogs.

Taken together the unprecedented measures in the Bill would hamper people’s basic rights to protest and shift even more power from the employee to the employer.

It is hard to see the aim of this bill as anything but seeking to undermine the rights of all working people. We owe so many of our employment protections to Trade Unions and we join them in opposing this bill.

BIHR

Liberty

Amnesty UK