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UK Government confirm they will scrap Welsh law as part of trade union crackdown

27 Jun 2022 3 minute read
Protestors attend a rally outside. PA Wire / Dominic Lipinski.

The UK Government have confirmed that they will scrap a law passed by the Senedd, as part of their push to crack down on trade unions.

It was revealed last week that the UK Government’s aim was that the law that will attempt to reduce the effectiveness of strikes would apply in Wales as well.

The UK Government has now said that the Trade Union Wales Act in 2017, which prohibited using temporary workers to cover industrial action, will be done away with.

The UK government said it “intends to legislate to remove the Trade Union (Wales) Act 2017 through primary legislation when Parliamentary time allows, to ensure trade union legislation applies equally across Great Britain”.

A Welsh government spokesperson said they would “resist” any plans by the UK Government to steamroll legislation passed by the Welsh parliament.

“Imposing tighter restrictions on trade unions and further reducing the rights of people at work is counter-productive and against everything we stand for in Wales,” they said.

“The UK government’s plans will do nothing to improve the lives of working people.”

“We will resist any attempts by the UK government to undermine both how devolved public services operate and legislation which has been passed by the Senedd.”

Education Minister Jeremy Miles took to social media to call the move “undemocratic”.

“The latest UK Government attack on workers’ rights and devolution – appalling, cynical and undemocratic from a party that doesn’t understand the first thing about social partnership,” he said.

“And it will be resisted.”

‘Ransom’

The General Secretary of TUC Cymru, Shavanah Taj, said the act was introduced to protect workers’ basic rights.

“The UK Government seems determined to attack both workers’ rights and devolution in one go, by introducing an entirely unnecessary piece of legislation,” she said. “It beggars’ belief that in a cost of living crisis, this is their priority.

“We will fiercely oppose any attempts to attack workers’ rights and we look forward to a future where workers throughout the UK have the strongest employment rights in Europe, instead of the weakest.”

UK Government ministers said that under current trade union laws, employment businesses are restricted from supplying temporary agency workers to cover for strikers, saying it can have a “disproportionate impact”.

The legislation will repeal the “burdensome” legal restrictions, giving businesses impacted by strike action the freedom to tap into the services of employment businesses who can provide skilled, temporary agency staff at short notice, said the UK Government.

It would also help mitigate against the impact of future strikes, such as those seen on the railways this week, by allowing trained, temporary workers to carry out crucial roles to keep trains moving, ministers said.

They gave examples of skilled temporary workers being able to fill vacant positions such as train dispatchers.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Once again trade unions are holding the country to ransom by grinding crucial public services and businesses to a halt. The situation we are in is not sustainable.

“Repealing these 1970s-era restrictions will give businesses freedom to access fully skilled staff at speed, all while allowing people to get on with their lives uninterrupted to help keep the economy ticking.”


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Phil Jones
Phil Jones
1 month ago

Westminster knows best? Are you edging towards independence Welsh Labour?

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  Phil Jones

Next they will ban the teaching of Hanes Cymru…

Richard
Richard
1 month ago
Reply to  Phil Jones

Don’t hold your breath on this. The Labour Party Wales section is a Unionist party through and through with a small autonomist tendency within its ranks….who enjoy the small edges of policy latitude allowed to keep the ‘ nats ‘ in tow. ( working well currently isnt it ? )

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard
Arwyn
Arwyn
1 month ago

Erm, this is a reason to kick off. Why isn’t this producing a robust response? Am I missing something.

Llefain
Llefain
1 month ago

Independence.

That is all.

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
1 month ago

couple of points, 1, who still believes the tories are the party of the working people and
2, where are all the notifications for taking to the streets and arranging riots.

The response to this action will be very telling, from the independence point of view??

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 month ago

If a UK govt. can so easily dispense with laws made by a democratically elected welsh parliament then it should clear to everyone that the current devolution ‘settlement’ isnt fit for purpose. And that the only way we in Wales can protect ourselves from the excesses of reactionary westminster governments is by becoming an independent nation.

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

And Welsh Labour still think we are better off in the union, It just beggars belief.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago

Wow! This Westminster government is really something! Ignoring and trying to scrap laws by the Senedd (every country in the UK treated with equality and respect – yeah right! Westminster doesn’t give a toss about devolution) and allowing agency staff to fill important roles to offset strikes (there’s no way these short notice people will have the same experience) therefore undermining the only means people have to protest against poor wages rises and bad working conditions. It’s obvious the UK is now being run by a rogue regime, the quicker we leave the Union the better!!

AntonJacques
AntonJacques
1 month ago

The Tories going against Trade Unions in Wales. I’m sure that’ll work out well for them

George
George
1 month ago

It’s no surprise to see the UK government – one which claims to be a unionist party – dump over a nation within the UK and their devolved government’s laws. It explains why some people want independence, why it might be necessary, but doesn’t explain what independence will look like or how it can be made a success. Is Westminster so able to dump over Scottish law or does the greater separation between legal structure in London and Holyrood stop that/make that more difficult? How do we get to that stage, how do we make it a success, how do… Read more »

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago
Reply to  George

Independence is a far sight better than what we’ve got now. I’d rather be free and have the ability to decide my own destiny than be a prisoner with my fate decided by another.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

This is an outrageous power grab by the English Conservative Government in London. This Welsh law passed in 2017 prohibited the use of agency workers. And this Tinpot Tory regime in London like Russia are effectively Nuking Senedd competency by imposing English law on Wales akin to the annexation of Crimea. They are riding roughshod over devolution. The EU was our friend, Whitehall our enemy. This must be fought tooth and nail in the Supreme Court. If the do this can do the same to our NHS, meaning privatisation through the backdoor as done in England with disaterous consequences. To… Read more »

GarethW
GarethW
1 month ago

It’s about time the trade unions in Wales started to campaign for independence. At least it will show the clowns in London that there is a consequence to their actions. Don’t expect much from Welsh labour

Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
1 month ago

I do hope that there will be many people discussing this affront to democracy in Cymru at the march Wrecsam this weekend…

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago

“….the UK Government’s aim was that the law that will attempt to reduce the effectiveness of strikes would apply in Wales as well. The UK Government has now said that the Trade Union Wales Act in 2017, which prohibited using temporary workers to cover industrial action, will be done away with.” They can do away with whatever they fancy in present conditions, but, and it’s a big but, there isn’t a pool of temporary workers available to draw upon ! Yet another dose of crazy posturing from UK Gov but I suppose it distracts neatly from their inability to enable… Read more »

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago

The Welsh Government should take the english government to the Supreme Court.

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