Faisal Rashid, MP for Warrington South, presented a Ten-Minute Rule Motion to parliament on Wednesday 15th May titled ‘Trade Union (Access to Workplaces)’. The motion sought to remove a number of existing restrictions on the ability of union officials to conduct their business with members within the workplace, as well as broadening union officials’ rights of access to speak to employees at their place of work for the purposes of recruitment.
Under existing legislation, there is no legal right of access to workplaces for unions to recruit new members, and huge companies like McDonalds and Amazon are often able to bar trade unionists from their stores.
In New Zealand, under the 2018 Employment Relations Amendment Act, unions have far greater access to workplaces. Workers are able to speak to union reps visiting the sites, the company provides a space for the union and worker to meet and pays the worker for a reasonable amount of time with their union representatives.
Faisal’s Bill would seek to introduce similar legislation in the UK – restoring protections for workers, especially vulnerable workers, and strengthening the role of collective bargaining in the workplace.
The motion received support from nearly 50 MP’s including support from Labour’s front bench. Laura Pidcock MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Labour, co-sponsored the Bill.
A Ten-Minute Rule Motion allows a backbench MP to make his or her case for a new Bill in a speech lasting up to ten minutes. Faisal’s motion was passed without opposition and the Bill is now scheduled for its second reading at an unspecified date.
Faisal Rashid, MP for Warrington South, said:
“Every day, trade unions are on the frontline – fighting poverty, fighting inequality, fighting injustice and negotiating a better deal for working people.
“Their role has never been more critical than today, as in-work poverty is on the rise, and zero-hours contracts are widespread. British workers face an uncertain and exploitative job market – while it is boom time for large multinational companies.
“Under current legislation, there is no legal right of access to workplaces for unions to recruit new members, so huge companies like McDonalds and Amazon are often able to bar trade unionists from their premises.
“To move away from a low-wage economy, I think that increasing the collective bargaining power of workers is critical. By expanding trade union access to workplaces, we can help to make this happen.
“In New Zealand, unions have far greater access to workplaces. This leads to higher union membership, higher wages and more just and fair workplaces. My Bill will seek to emulate this legislation here in the UK.
“By expanding trade union access to workplaces, we can restore dignity and respect at work and put an end to the exploitation and misery we see on the rise today. We need stronger trade unions and a better deal for working people.