13 March 2015
In parliament this week Union-basher Frances Maude repeated his moves to cut trade union facility time and abolish check-off ‘for no reason’.
The statement went down badly with the house.
“Hon. Members: What was the point of that?
Mr Speaker: Well, it was apparently judged worthy of an oral statement.”
Labour’s Lucy Powell MP replied to Maude; “It is election time, so we have a Tory Minister coming to the House as part of a pre-election union-bashing exercise. There is absolutely nothing new in this statement, so one wonders what his motives are. The Government have a clear strategy towards public servants up and down the country: “The Government do not value the work you do and are hellbent on disfranchising you and weakening your rights at work.”
“Given that the cost of check-off is relatively low and that most unions are happy to pay the cost of administering it themselves, it is clear that this is another stage in the long campaign to weaken trade unions and disfranchise their members.”
She continued: “The Minister has come to this House today with his Lynton Crosby route 1 election strategy: bash the unions and duck the leaders’ debates. Hard-pressed public sector workers will see this for what it is, and they know that they deserve better than this.”
PCS commented: “It was rather odd of Maude to come to the house on the pretext of an urgent statement to simply rehash arguments we’ve heard before, and it seems to us that he has wasted parliamentary time purely to have a pop at the unions.