MSP hits out at Trade Union Bill

Colin Beattie MSP at the STUC lobby outside of the Scottish Parliament
Colin Beattie MSP at the STUC lobby outside of the Scottish Parliament

SNP MSP Colin Beattie has raised questions over Labour’s failure to back the devolution of power over industrial relations to Scotland.

His outburst came after he voted in Holyrood to oppose the UK government’s Trade Union Bill.A motion condemning the Trade Union Bill was passed in the Scottish Parliament with support from Labour MSPs.

Despite the fact that Labour MPs at Westminster voted against an SNP amendment to the Scotland Bill to devolve responsibility for industrial relations and workers’ rights.

The Scottish Government has asked the UK Government to exclude Scotland from the Trade Union Bill in its entirety, and that if they are unwilling to do so, the consent of the Scottish Parliament should be sought before it is imposed.

Mr Beattie said:“I was proud to cast my vote in the Scottish Parliament to stand against the UK Government’s Trade Union Bill – and I was delighted to see Labour MSPs joining with the SNP in opposing this outrageous attack on workers’ rights.

“The Trade Union Bill is nothing less than an attack on the rights of workers across the UK and hampers the rights of devolved administrations, local authorities and other public bodies to determine their own industrial relations.

“The SNP proposed plans to devolve powers over industrial relations which would have allowed the Scottish Parliament to take a new and better approach – supporting the work of our unions rather than attacking them.

“That Labour would rather leave these powers in David Cameron’s hands, giving him carte blanche to undermine unions in Scotland, is as bewildering as it is wrong – and local Labour politicians will have to answer to workers across Midlothian for their decision.”

Neil Findlay, Scottish Labour MSP for the Lothians said: “Scottish Labour is opposed to the Trade Union Bill and the SNP know that. When this issue was debated in the Scottish Parliament the SNP Government supported Scottish Labour’s amendment calling for the Bill to be subject of a Legislative Consent Motion.

“We believe this Bill is bad for workers right across the UK and not just here in Scotland. Instead of constantly complaining about powers they don’t have the SNP should start to focus on the powers they do have and what they will do with the new powers coming as a result of passing the Scotland Bill.”