A protest against the government’s controversial Trade Union Bill has taken place in Lincoln city centre.
Members of the Lincoln & District TUC congregated in front of the war memorial on High Street from midday on September 14, armed with banners stating “Don’t rip up my rights” and “Workers in Lincolnshire demand the fruits of our labour.”
The trade union bill proposes higher thresholds for ballots and restrictions on picketing, and will be discussed for the first time in Parliament this evening.
Employment minister and MP for Grantham, Nick Boles, said: “Working people need to know they can get on with their lives without unjustified disruption.
“These modernising reforms will ensure strikes only happen as a result of a clear, positive and recent decision by those entitled to vote.”
Nick Parker, Secretary of Lincoln & District TUC, said: “We want to mark this occasion by registering our total opposition to the bill. It’s going to massively attack the rights of workers and we want to raise public awareness of this today.
“Trade unions are ultimately the last bastion of defence for working class people. The government has attacked our rights at work and our ability to have an employment tribunal if you get discriminated against.
“I oppose all of the bill but perhaps the most chilling aspects are that anyone who wants to participate actively in a strike will have to give their name and address to the police as if they’re criminals when the right to go on strike is a basic democratic right.”
Parker also issued a plea for Labour MPs to vote against the bill in its entirety, and supported the early signs given by new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
He said: “I’d hope and expect that every single Labour member of parliament would oppose the bill.
“I’m not a member of the Labour Party but I do welcome Jeremy Corbyn’s election victory. It shows that people are fed up with austerity and have voted for a clear, socialist alternative.
“But if laws like this Trade Union Bill are passed, then we would seriously have to consider whether they should be adhered to.”