allow unions to expel fascists
The House of Lords has recently altered a section of a Government Bill that would have allowed trade unions to expel BNP members and other fascists from their ranks.
MPs will debate the Employment Bill (4-11-08) and have a chance to right a wrong. In 2007 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that British trade unions, like religious groups and political parties, had the right to regulate their membership to include only those who share their beliefs and ideology. In doing so they determined that unions should be allowed to expel fascists from their ranks.
The Employment Bill was meant to incorporate this ruling into British law. Unfortunately, it has fallen well short of what was required. Loose wording and additional provisions have meant that the Bill, if enacted into law, would leave the unions in a worse legal position than before.
Trade unions should have the right to exclude people, such as active fascists, whose views are diametrically opposed to the ethos of trade unionism without fear of legal or financial penalties.
The Trade Union Group of Labour MPs, led by Tony Lloyd MP, has put down an amendment (the new Clause 6), which will properly enforce the court’s ruling. To ensure that this gets debated it is vital that we put maximum pressure on our MPs.
The Lords have actually made the situation for trade unions even more difficult. Under the revised Bill, trade unions will not only find it more difficult to remove fascists but individual BNP members will actually be afforded more protection than any other trade unionist.
We believe that fascism is incompatible with the ethos of trade unionism. Trade unionism is built upon the concept of solidarity whilst the BNP seek to divide people on grounds of race, colour and religion.
We believe that trade unions should have the right to exclude members of the BNP and other fascist parties from their membership.
Unions should not be liable for any financial loss incurred by fascists if they are quite separately disciplined, overlooked for promotion or even sacked by employers after the union itself has taken action, as the Lords’ amendments now state.
We call on MPs to either discard the Lords amendments or introduce new wording that is favourable to unions.
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