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Trade Union Bill general principles supported by National Assembly committee

07/04/2017

​A National Assembly committee has supported the general principles of the Trade Union (Wales) Bill.

The Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee concluded that the law is necessary to maintain the social partnership – the approach taken by the Welsh Government to managing public sector staff and industrial relations in public services.

The Bill proposes disapplying certain provisions of the Trade Union Act 2016 passed by the UK Parliament in relation to 'devolved Welsh authorities'. In particular, the Bill would reverse:

  • Restrictions on deduction of union subscriptions from wages by employers;

  • Powers to require the publication of information on facility time and to impose requirements on public sector employers in relation to paid facility time; and

  • The 40% support threshold for industrial action affecting important public services.

 "It is clear from the evidence we received that the arrangements in place before the 2016 Act worked effectively in Wales and are conducive to the social partnership approach; an approach that the Welsh Government, trade unions and public sector employers have committed to," said John Griffiths AM, Chair of the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee.

"While the partnership approach is not without its tensions and difficulties, it seems to be serving Wales well.

"Industrial action across the UK is at its lowest for years and strikes have been less prevalent in Wales than in England in recent years. For example the junior doctors' strike in England was successfully averted in Wales.

"It is clear to us that the success of the social partnership is dependent on equality between partners and that the relevant provisions in the 2016 Act are likely, to varying degrees, to affect this.

"In view of the above, we support the general principles of the Bill and agree that it is needed to disapply the relevant provisions of the 2016 Act."

The National Assembly will now debate whether to agree the general principles of the Bill, as recommended by the Committee. If the general principles are agreed, the Bill will proceed to stage 2 of the Assembly's law-making process.

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