Congress believes that the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill is a clear attack on democracy in this country.
Congress condemns the Government's cynical introduction of the Bill to the House of Commons at the start of September and its deliberate timetabling to avoid detailed scrutiny in the House of Commons.
Congress notes that the Electoral Commission on 3 September suggested the Bill will create uncertainty, raises questions of workability and will be impossible to enforce. Congress further notes there have been no requests for new restrictions on trade union membership from the Trade Union Certification Officer, employers or trade unions themselves.
The comments by the Prime Minister in the House on the 4 September 2013 are the clearest indication yet that the real reason for the bill is to curb the campaigning activities of the trade unions.
The new law would be neither necessary nor proportionate. Further, it only covers
1 per cent of the lobbying industry.
The Bill would seriously limit the campaigning activity of registered third parties, trade unions, charities and others.
Such attacks and state imposed restrictions run contrary to the ECHR, allowing workers to join a union for the protection of their interests.
The Bill restricts the campaigning activities of trade unions, charities and other civil society groups - including those who seek to protect the rights of citizens and fight oppression and discrimination. They cover the lead up to local, European and parliamentary elections and also impact on the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. These provisions also attack democracy, freedom of speech and are designed to silence coalition critics.
The Bill totally fails to introduce transparency or accountability to the lobbying sector by limiting the Bill to consultant lobbyists.
The Bill creates new unjustified intrusions into individual trade unions' membership arrangements.
Congress agrees that the General Council should:
continue with its work with charities, third parties and others who have expressed their opposition to this Bill in order to develop co-ordinated action to its opposition
explore the potential for legal action against its implementation and co-ordinate this action with all who are willing
investigate and report to all affiliates on the practicalities of a policy of non-co-operation should the Bill become law
adopt a position of campaigning for the full repeal of the Bill should it become law.
Congress calls on the TUC to ensure:
the attacks on trade unions within the Bill are rejected
the assault on free speech, democracy and the gagging of campaign groups is defeated
an acceptable framework for regulating lobbying is introduced.
Seconder: Communication Workers Union
Issued: 10 September, 2013