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Trade Union Bill (Implications for Scottish Parliament Staff)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 12th November 2015.

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Photo of Patricia Ferguson Patricia Ferguson Labour

2. To ask the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body what consideration it has given to the implications for its employees of the proposals in the United Kingdom Government’s Trade Union Bill. (S4O-04758)

Photo of John Pentland John Pentland Labour

The SPCB is aware of the contents of the bill, and officials have begun to assess what systems would have to be amended or put in place should it be passed in its current form. We will continue to monitor developments at Westminster to ensure that we are ready to meet any resultant legal requirements on the Parliament. The corporate body values its strong relationship with trade unions and will continue to work with them in implementing any action resulting from the bill.

Photo of Patricia Ferguson Patricia Ferguson Labour

I have to say that I find the answer from the corporate body very disappointing indeed. The bill is regressive in nature and will do nothing to facilitate good working arrangements within this Parliament. I would have hoped that the corporate body might have been willing to take the route that many local authorities in Scotland are now taking. Is the SPCB willing to guarantee that, regardless of what legislation the UK Parliament passes, if it is not amended or does not have significant changes made to it, the corporate body will continue with approaches such as check-off and facility time in order to ensure that trade unions in this Parliament are treated in the way that we would all want them to be, as partners in negotiation and as worthwhile enterprises in and of themselves?

Photo of John Pentland John Pentland Labour

Even though there was overwhelming opposition to the bill on Tuesday, it would be inappropriate for the SPCB to take a position on the bill. The corporate body will continue to monitor developments and will, as with any legislation, take such steps as are necessary to comply with any legal requirements placed on the Parliament. As I mentioned in my response to the member’s earlier question, we have a strong relationship with our unions and we will do everything that we can to maintain that positive relationship, regardless of the outcome of the Trade Union Bill.

Photo of John Wilson John Wilson Independent

As the member and the corporate body are aware, we had a debate in the chamber on Tuesday, when an overwhelming majority of members in the chamber voted against the Trade Union Bill and expressed their opposition to the bill. Surely the corporate body should take that on board when making policy decisions on behalf of this Parliament.

Photo of John Pentland John Pentland Labour

Again, I will just say that, at this particular time, it is inappropriate for the SPCB to take a position on the bill.