– the campaign continues –
Nov 4th 2008 – the United Campaign to Repeal Anti-TU Laws, supported by the TUC, promoted three trade union freedom bill amendments, clauses 1, 2 and 3.
Despite constant pressing from MPs, the Minister for Employment Relations, Pat McFadden MP [W’ton SE], refused to offer even a consultation to address the weaknesses in the law.
A vote was forced on new clause 2, relating to proposed new duties on "employers in relation to industrial action ballots". Gordon Brown suffered his biggest rebellion in the Commons when 45 labour MPs voted in favour of the amendment, [none of the W’ton MPs]. The previous record was 36 Labour rebels over 42-day detention for terror suspects.
16 MPs also signed up to the Tony Lloyd amendment (Chair of the Trade Union Group of MPs), new clause 6. Both the United Campaign and the IER had assisted in, drafting, promoting and supporting the amendment. The clause would have given unions the automatic right to expel fascists from their membership. The Minister, Pat McFadden refused to give any ground on this amendment although this clause was not put to the vote.
According to the Guardian the government had to rely on large attendance from the Conservatives and the government payroll vote to ensure the amendments were defeated. The paper said that a number of Labour MPs who had pledged to rebel were absent, campaigning in the Glenrothes by-election, making the size of the rebellion all the more surprising.
The support received was a tribute to all those who have supported the United Campaign lobbying of MPs. The fight for trade union freedom continues.