28 January 2016
The Welsh Assembly this week voted against giving consent to Westminster to legislate for the 40% support threshold on strike ballots, additional regulation around facility time, and the removal of ‘check-off’ arrangements in the Welsh public sector.
On Tuesday (26 January 2016), a Legislative Consent Motion on the matter was voted out 43 to 13.
Legislative Consent Motions are a convention of parliament that allow devolved governments to give consent to Westminster to amend legislation relating to areas normally with the devolved government’s command.
Convention requires that the UK government now amend the Bill to remove legislation pertaining to devolved powers, such as the rules governing public servants in Wales.
However, the vote is not legally binding. It has been argued that the Bill concerns employment law – legislation which is not devolved to Wales – and that the UK government could thus ignore the Welsh vote.
Wales’ First Minister Carwyn Jones has said the Assembly will fight clauses pertaining to Welsh public services if they become law.
“If it comes to the point where that bill is passed, and its provisions are applied to devolved public services, we will seek to introduce a bill in this chamber to overturn the sections of the bill that impact on devolved areas,” he said.
“It’s a matter for the UK government if they then want to go to the Supreme Court in order to frustrate the will of this democratically elected assembly.”
Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews said: “In Wales we have a good record of resolving disputes.
“There was no junior doctors’ strike in Wales, there was in England.
“Fire fighters took industrial action in England over pensions, they were not doing so in Wales.
“In contrast, we believe this bill, the Trade Union Bill, will lead to a confrontational relationship between employers and the workforce.”