This week has mostly been about Parliament, politicians and placards...
The Trade Union Bill finished its stint in Committee this week. A small group of MPs (mostly Tories – the majority Party in the Commons gets a majority on Bill Committees too) have spent 2 days grilling witnesses, and 3 days going through the Bill line by line.
Labour MPs on the Committee argued against the Bill as a whole, and against every part of the Bill individually – they tabled amendment as well. Some amendments were to limit the damage of the Bill and some (known as ‘probing amendments’) were to enable them to make different arguments against the Bill.
A thankless task, in many ways, as the Tories’ built-in majority makes it almost impossible to win a vote.
The end of the ‘Committee stage’ means that the Bill will be back for debate and vote in the Commons soon. And the Government aren’t hanging about on this one – the date has been set for Tuesday 10 November. All MPs will get at least a whole day, maybe more, to debate the Bill, and vote on another set of amendments – before finally getting to vote on the Bill as a whole. If it passes this vote it will head to the House of Lords for the next phase in the Parliamentary process.
That’s why we’ve been building up our campaign with Members of Parliament. On Wednesday, we headed over to the Palace of Westminster with a box of placards and a 3 metre banner – ready to make some noise about the strength of opposition to this Bill. Dozens of Labour MPs joined us, including Jeremy Corbyn, as a lucky break in the weather kept us all dry.
Be under no illusions, Labour are fighting this Bill every step of the way – but beating it is going to be hard. That’s why we’ve spent the second half of this week getting ready for the Rally and Lobby of Parliament on Monday.
Thousands of union members will be flocking to London to meet their MPs and ask them to vote to stop the Bill. It’s not too late to join them – there’s all the info you need here, and we’re even running a training session in the morning on how to lobby your MP. There’s still a few places left, so please join us if you’ll be at the lobby.
Don’t worry if you can’t make it, we’ll be in touch on Monday with a whole set of actions you can do to lobby your MP from home – just sign up here and we’ll make sure you get the email.
There’ll be a lot more Parliament, politicians and placards in the weeks to come – as we keep building our campaign to stop the Trade Union Bill. If you want to protect the voice and power of working people, at work and in politics, then make sure you join our campaign: http://www.ourvoiceatwork.org.uk
In case you missed it:
At PMQs, Jeremy Corbyn asked Cameron 6 times to confirm that no one will be worse off after the tax credit cuts. And 6 times Cameron failed to answer. Definitely worth a watch.
Helen Pearce is unionstogether's Head of Campaigns and Comms.