Trade Union Bill ‘spiteful’

Photo Neil Cross'Picket line of 24 hour fire service strike at Preston Fire Station, Blackpool Road, Preston

Photo Neil Cross'Picket line of 24 hour fire service strike at Preston Fire Station, Blackpool Road, Preston

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Politicians in Preston have slammed the proposed Trade Union Bill as a “threat to civil liberties”.

A stormy meeting of the city council debated the proposals to tighten the rules on strike ballots, and the impact on workers in Preston.

Following a heated debate, in which one councillor left the council chamber, it was agreed that the chief executive would write to the government, expressing the authority’s “dismay” over the proposals.

The notice of motion submitted by Coun Peter Moss said: “The council believes that these provisions of the Trade Union Bill are unfair, unnecessary and undemocratic.”

Coun Moss said: “The bill proves the government is not on the side of working people, these unfair changes will make it much harder for workers to challenge the behaviour of bad employers.

“This is about punishing ordinary men and women for daring to stand up for themselves.”

Coun Mark Yates added: “This is just another spiteful measure from the Conservatives in a time when working people need unions more than ever before.”

The debate led to strong words across the chamber, and Conservative councillor and businessman David Walker said “Corbyn fever” was in the air. He said: “I find this motion is political propaganda, it’s wasting my time, I’m going to take my wage slip and I’m going to go.”

Coun Rowena Edmondson added: “This notice of motion is a waste of time and money, it’s not going to make a scrap of difference to the Conservative programme because you lost.”

Councillors voted that Chief Executive Lorraine Norris would write to the Local Government Association to ask them to protest against the bill, and support any legal action seeking to challenge it.