Grant Shapps rejects government’s own assessment that anti-strike bill could lead to more strikes – live
Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, has rejected the government’s own assessment that an anti-strike bill could lead to more strikes taking place.
The Department for Transport (DfT) recently conducted an evaluation of the Trade Union Bill, concluding that the bill as proposed, which seeks to restrict unions’ powers to call for industrial action, could potentially cause more widespread strikes.
However, speaking to the Commons transport select committee today, Shapps insisted that “the idea that the bill will increase strikes is spurious”, saying that “it is a completely baseless point and I entirely reject it”.
The Trade Union Bill is the biggest shake up in industrial relations laws in a generation and, according to the DfT’s evaluation, “would reduce the number of employees who take part in industrial action, but in turn would increase the number of strikes taking place.”
The Bill, which has been described as one of the most controversial aspects of the Queen’s Speech, received much criticism after its introduction, with trade unions claiming it was an attack on their rights, and Labour branding it a ‘conservative attack on worker’s rights.’
Shapps was adamant, however, that the Bill is “not designed to reduce trade union activity” but instead to ensure that lawful industrial action does not “unnecessarily damage employers, practitioners and the public”.
He also suggested that it should be implemented in a way that recognized “the balance between trade unions and employers”, instead of creating an “unhelpful dynamic” that results in “a lack of attendances at work and the potential for the economy to suffer”.
The Bill has now been sent to the House of Commons for further consideration, with trade unions and employers both united in their opposition to it.
Grant Shapps’ response to the government’s assessment that an anti-strike bill could lead to more strikes has been to flatly reject it. Despite the Department for Transport’s evaluation suggesting the bill could cause a decrease in union membership, potentially leading to an increase in strikes, Shapps maintains that its primary aim is not to reduce trade union activity but instead is intended to ensure that legal industrial action does not detrimentally affect employers and the public. The contentious bill is now heading to the House of Commons, with both trade unions and employers alike having voiced their opposition to it. Transportation secretary performs down effect evaluation declaring new legislation would make extra industrial motion much more probably