Commenting on amendments tabled by the government to the Lobbying Bill, following intense work by NGOs, Trades Union Congress (TUC) General Secretary Frances O’Grady has warned that the Bill is still a threat to democracy and free speech.
“After uniting the whole of civil society against it, the government has today been forced to make further concessions on the Lobbying Bill," she said yesterday (9 January 2014).
“But it would be a mistake," she continued, "to think that the changes meet the concerns raised or end the attack on free speech. Nor do they undo the damage done through lack of consultation, or the failure even to attempt to try and build consensus.
“The attacks on trade unions in part three remain unchanged. This is despite the red flag from the Regulatory Policy Committee, the government’s continuing failure to spell out why changes are needed and the clear threat to union membership confidentiality."
The unions' concern is a 'data grab' in part 3 of the Lobbying Bill which could open the door to exposing union members to victimisation or dismissal from ruthless employers.
“This is a bad, partisan Bill entirely devoid of merit. It should be scrapped,” said the TUC chief.
* Petition against a union data grab through the Lobbying Bill: http://action.goingtowork.org.uk/page/s/lobbying-bill-my-union-membershi...
* More on the Lobbying Bill from Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/lobbyingbill
* Urgent petition to back Lord Harries / CCSDE amendments to Lobbyng Bill on 15 January: http://civilsocietycommission.info/petition/
* Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement: http://civilsocietycommission.info