Cynon Valley AM says Trade Union Bill is measured and needed response to UK Government’s unfair union crackdown

In 2016, the UK Tory Government passed a draconian new law to crack down on the ability of trade unions to represent their members. As the Welsh Labour Government publishes a new bill to overturn those parts of the changes affecting devolved powers, Cynon Valley AM Vikki Howells has said that the Welsh Government’s action is a measured and needed response to the unfair union crackdown.

The UK Government’s Trade Union Act 2016 imposed stringent new strike ballot thresholds in public services and will also monitor and restrict the activities of trade unions in supporting the workforce.

However, its provisions included the Welsh NHS, Welsh schools, local government in Wales and other devolved public services which are the responsibility of the National Assembly for Wales. The Welsh Government’s Bill would dis-apply parts of the Act that relate to these services.

Finance and Local Government Secretary Mark Drakeford AM said:-

“We have always said that the Trade Union Act was unnecessary and would lead to more confrontational relationships between employers and workers, undermining rather than supporting public services and the economy.

“Social partnership is founded on respect for the work of trades unions and the rights of their members. In Wales, employers and the trade union movement work together constructively. We are not prepared to let the Trade Union Act undermine the approach we have built on this side of the border.

“Key sections on ballot thresholds, facility time and check-off would make the delivery of devolved public services in Wales more difficult, changing the balance of the relationship between employers and unions

“This Bill seeks to ensure the damaging provisions of the UK Act do not apply to public services in Wales.”

Vikki Howells AM said:-

“Since the Trade Union Act was introduced, the Welsh Government has been working in close partnership with trades unions and employers on the proposals and all are in agreement that the Tory Government are out of step with what is needed.

“The Act is unfair, undemocratic and draconian, but it also interferes with devolved policy and the powers held by the National Assembly for Wales.

“I am glad that the Welsh Government has promptly responded in a measured and sensible fashion to overturn the parts of the Act that we are able to influence here in Wales, and to uphold the principles of partnership working that have underpinned Welsh Labour’s approach since the start of devolution”.



Cynon Valley AM Vikki Howells is pictured with Cabinet Secretary for Finance Local Government Professor Mark Drakeford AM.