31 October 2013
Having spent three and a half years promising to slash what the Coalition are calling ‘red tape’ (read health and safety legislation and employment rights), the government’s own policies have come back to bite them in their attempt to put even more regulatory restrictions on trade unions.
Those keeping their eye on the Lobbying Bill – including the underreported third section on trade union administration – will have noted a blatant contradiction in terms in the government’s own policy. Regulation is bad for business, they say, but necessary for the organisations that protect workers and the vulnerable (such as charities and trade unions). It is an obvious example of one rule for them, another for the rest of us.
But the Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC), set up by the government to diminish ‘red tape’ for employers, has now issued a critical report on Part Three of the Lobbying Bill, concluding that the government has shown no evidence of having fully investigated the negative effects of its plans on trade unions.
“The impact assessment lacks a sound evidence base and is insufficiently robust to justify RPC validation of the estimated costs to civil society organisations (trade unions). The IA [Impact Assessment] needs to provide a more detailed assessment of all likely costs to trade unions, including all familiarisation costs and recurring costs to small unions. The assessment should be supported by further evidence that was gathered from consultation with stakeholders, in particular quality assurers,” the RPC’s report states.
A majority of RPC members have a background in business and were likely selected to back legislation that props up employers, but this is one of the only times the Committee has ever given proposed regulations a rare ‘red rating’, alerting the Coalition that policymakers should scrap their plans and start again.
Read the RPC’s report here