Council calls on Government to re-think trade union legislation

Ref: PR 5066
Date: 17/09/2015

Wakefield Council has strongly rejected the Government's amendment to the Trade Union Bill an "unnecessary attack on workers' rights and civil liberties."

The meeting of full Council yesterday voted to oppose the proposed amendment in a motion proposed by Cabinet member Cllr Graham Stokes which said the Council was "totally opposed to the draconian proposal."

The motion was carried with 43 votes for, four against and three abstentions.

In an often emotional and angry debate lasting for more than an hour, councillor after councillor on the Labour benches renounced the proposals as an attack on working people.

Cllr Stokes said the proposals would make it much harder for public sector workers, who have suffered many years of pay restraint, to ever strike for a pay rise or challenge the behaviour of bad employers.

Cllr Stokes said: "The proposals on strike action impose impossible thresholds. At a time when there has never been fewer strikes, what is this all about. It can only be to undermine working people.

"This country has a proud tradition of liberty and democracy that has built up over the years and in which trade unions have played a key role."

Cllr Stokes added: "These proposals lead the Council to believe that the Government intends to weaken trade unions, making it easier to attack workers' rights, pay and conditions of employment.

"The Bill clearly demonstrates that the Government is not on the side of working people and we call on the Government to think again."

The full debate can be viewed at