Readers' letters - May 17

Unjust and undemocratic

Tuesday, 17th May 2016, 4:11 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th May 2016, 6:16 pm
TUC general secretary Frances OGrady poses in front of a digital poster ahead of a rally in Westminster last year to protest against the Trade Union Bill. A correspondent warns the bill  which has now been given royal approval  will be harmful for workers

The Tories’ Trade Union Act 2016 has been given royal approval.

This anti-union law will come into force in two months’ time once it receives royal assent. This unjust and anti-democratic law will make it harder for workers to win a legal mandate for action.

Under the new act, if you want to strike legally, there must be a 50 per cent turnout in a postal ballot. Within public services – health, education, fire, transport, border security and nuclear decommissioning – 40 per cent of those entitled to vote must back a strike for it to be legal.

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In the public sector, this means that on a 50 per cent turnout, 80 per cent must vote yes for industrial action.

We should remember that the current Tory Government only received 24 per cent from those eligible to vote in the last General Election. If the ballot thresholds they are forcing on trade unions applied to them, they would have no mandate to govern.

The idea in a House of Lords amendment, supported by Trade Unions, of electronic balloting was watered down by MPs.

There will now be a review of electronic balloting. But this only requires the government to publish a response, rather than a strategy to roll it out.

There were however concessions on check off, with the Tories abandoning plans to ban union subscriptions via payroll, provided the union pays for processing costs (which most unions already do). Other minor concessions included the notice period for strikes and the length of time a ballot remains valid.

Dropped from the legislation was the requirement for a picket line “supervisor” to wear a badge or armband. However they must still wear “something that readily identifies them”. This does nothing to address the fears that bosses could use this to victimise trade unionists.

Jeremy Corbyn has promised that one of the first acts of a Labour Government will be to repeal this legislation.

In the meantime however, if we are to fight against the brutal unnecessary cuts and the constant attacks on our pay by the posh boys from Eton, who think they are born to rule, then this law will have to be broken.

Mick Mulcahy, Lancashire People’s Assembly Against Austerity

Please bring back our Orbit

Please put the Orbit bus service back on, this was a great bus service for so many people.

Now, without this service, there are problems for everyone who used this route. People are having to get two buses to get to the hospital or Asda.

We were five minutes late for a hospital appointment because we did not know the time of the second bus. We apologised to the staff. They said would you have been on the Orbit? We said yes, they replied they had the same problem trying to get to work.

One lady I was talking to was in a house exchange because she did not drive and had to get two buses to take her children to school.

Take the 89 off, this goes on the same route to Larches, and please bring back the Orbit. People living between Lea Road and Cottam are now stranded, including the elderly and school children who use this service. It will be worst when evenings get dark earlier.

Please think about your passengers. We are supposed to be a city, it’s a city that leaves people stranded. Where is the support from our councillors?

Name and address supplied

Brexit film will help you decide

May I suggest that all the undecided voters in the EU Referendum go online to YouTube and watch a fascinating documentary called Brexit the movie. It’s compulsive viewing, no outlandish claims, just solid facts and figures. No wonder it’s been banned.

I’m applying for a job in Brussels even as we speak!

Sue Tomlinson, Preston

We deserve to be treated better

Cuadrilla flies in the face of common decency, respect for residents and for the democratic process by announcing that it is now applying to drill four groundwater bore holes at Roseacre and Preston New Road.

Letters announcing this intention have been sent to residents, with the shallow and presumptuous excuse that it wishes to be prepared if it is given the go- ahead to carry out fracking exploration at these two sites.

This follows the recent announcement of the opening of Cuadrilla’s shiny new national head offices in Preston, at which Bill Beaumont was special guest on behalf of Fylde Rugby Club.

Last year, Lancashire County Councillors refused Cuadrilla’s applications to carry out fracking exploration at these two sites but then an appeal was lodged against that decision. A six-week inquiry followed which involved all parties, particularly local residents, in an incredible amount of time, effort, anxiety and expense.

The Planning Inspector is only due to submit her report in July.

The Secretary of State, Greg Clark (who will solely make the final decision, itself an affront to democracy) will not make his decision until later in the year.

What right, therefore, has Cuadrilla got to ignore all this and just carry on regardless, in advance of the final decision being made? This action makes the assumption that the appeal will be upheld, and isn’t there a possibility that it could influence the final decision anyway?

It is as though the views of responsible citizens mean nothing and makes a mockery of the whole process, a process that the Government has encouraged local communities to get involved in, through the concept of localism. Whether one is for or against fracking, surely we all deserve better treatment than this.

J Bailie via email

Voting out due to pro-EU MPs

Funny really, how the politicians people most dislike insist we stay in Europe, seemingly oblivious of the fact that they are probably going to be, in the final analysis, seen as the main driving force that drove the silent majority into voting leave. It just shows what they know.

Can you imagine anything less inspiring than George Osborne in cahoots with Ed Balls and Vince Cable?

Joseph G Dawson, Chorley