Issue date
26 Jan 2016

NEWS FROM WALES TUC

Date: Tuesday 26th January 2016

‘Stand up for devolution today’ - Wales TUC tells Assembly Members

The Wales TUC is calling on Assembly Members to use a vote today to stand up for devolution against a UK government which is ‘preparing to act unconstitutionally’.

Assembly Members will decide whether to give their consent for the UK Government’s controversial Trade Union Bill to be applied in Welsh public services.

The UK government says it will force the Bill on Wales whether the National Assembly agrees or not.  But the Wales TUC has high level independent legal advice that this would be unconstitutional.  On the morning of the debate they are providing a private detailed legal briefing for AMs by leading QC Hefin Rees.

Wales TUC want the Welsh government to urgently prepare its own legislation to ensure that workers’ rights removed by the UK Bill are immediately reinstated in Wales.

Wales TUC General Secretary Martin Mansfield said:

“This UK government is getting ready to smash holes through the constitution, ride roughshod over our democratic institutions and ignore the will of the Welsh people.

“Our challenge to Assembly Members of all parties is – whatever your view of the Bill itself, stand up for devolution and the rights of the Welsh people to democratically decide these matters for ourselves.

“Our challenge to the Welsh government is – bring forward draft Welsh legislation right now so you can immediately reinstate workers’ rights if the UK Bill is forced on us.

“Our challenge to the UK government is – withdraw this unnecessary, unfair and unconstitutional Bill, focus your efforts on working in partnership with unions to save vital industries like steel.”

NOTES:

  1. The Assembly will today debate a ‘Legislative Consent Motion’ laid by the Welsh government to decide whether they give permission for the UK government to apply the Trade Union Bill in devolved Welsh public services.
     
  2. In a private briefing for Assembly Members organised by Wales TUC, Hefin Rees QC will present his independent legal opinion which states that the UK government would be ‘acting unconstitutionally’ if the Bill is passed in its current form without seeking the consent of the National Assembly for Wales. He further advises that there is ‘nothing to prevent the Welsh Government and Assembly from enacting legislation that disapplies, in full or in part, the legislation in Wales.’.

    The legal opinion is available in full at this link: https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/Legal%20Advice%20Trade%20Union%20Bill%20and%20Devolution%20.pdf
     
  3. The UK government’s claim that the Bill does not require the Assembly’s consent was further undermined last week when the Senedd’s cross party Enterprise & Business Committee said it ‘felt strongly that a LCM is required’.

    Enterprise & Business Committee:  Report on the consideration of the Legislative Consent Memorandum arising from the Trade Union Bill  http://www.assembly.wales/laid%20documents/cr-ld10507/cr-ld10507-e.pdf

     
  4. In October the Assembly overwhelmingly opposed the provisions of the Bill in a debate supported by Welsh Labour, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats.

Wales TUC contacts:

Alex Bevan                 T: 02920 347010         M: 07795844728         E: abevan@tuc.org.uk                       

Gareth Hathway         T 02920 347010          M: 07833468487         E: ghathway@tuc.org.uk