Monday, 14 September 2015

Green Party's Shameful Silence on Trade Union Bill

UPDATE. Sometime after 3pm on 14 September a statement was published on the national GP website press feed that the party opposes the Trade Union Bill. I welcome this statement. But the fact remains that  this action was only taken AFTER  the  publication of an article on my blog. Had I not published this article I believe that the GP would not have put out a statement on its national website about the TU Bill yesterday. I recognise that the GP has made its opposition to the TU Bill clear in various forums and through press releases to the media. However,  as a member of a national political party with almost 70,000 members I expect my party to have used  its  press feed on its national website to repeat and make clear it opposition to the Bill, especially bearing in mind that yesterday was the day on which the TU Bill was debated by the TUC and Parliament. Publishing a statement sometime after 3pm on it national website on a day when the civil liberties of millions of workers was to be discussed by Parliament and the TUC is not acceptable. This was a serious omission which sends out a misleading message about the GPs strong commitment to workers’ rights

Original article

Today both the TUC and Parliament will be discussing the Government’s Trade Union Bill. This is a Bill which contravenes several  International Labour Organisation conventions which have already been ratified by the UK. This is a Bill  which  will place restrictions on trade union abilities to organise in the workplace and to engage politically. This is a Bill which will restrict  the right of trade unions to bargain collectively and the right to take industrial action. So draconian is this Bill that comments made by trade union officials  on social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube about industrial disputes will be regulated and policed  by the state. This Bill is nothing less than a fundamental attack on the civil rights of millions of trade unionists  which makes Thatcher’s anti-union legislation of the 1980s look positively tame. This is a Bill which all progressive political organisations should be opposing including supporting and engaging in peaceful direct action and civil disobedience if it becomes law. 

Green Party National Website 2pm 14 September.
I would have expected my party - the Green Party, which prides itself on being a champion of democracy and civil rights, to have had a lot to say about this incredibly important issue. But sadly no! I have checked the party’s national website and our news releases have not said single a  word about the Trade Union Bill in the past two months! Worse still on the day that the Trades Union Congress meets in Green MP Caroline Lucas's Brighton constituency to discuss the Bill; on the day that  Parliament debates this fundamentally anti-democratic measure; and on a day when the news media is alive with this subject,   my party has shamefully failed to make any official comment.

Following Jeremy Corbyn's magnificent victory as Labour Leader on Saturday many Greens have been questioning the role and future of our party.  I for one will not be joining a Green flight to Labour, but if we are to retain credibility as fighters for, and defenders of, democratic freedoms, particularly when the Labour Left is resurgent we cannot afford to make such shameful mistakes as this.

TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady 


  1. “Rather than restricting the role of trade unions, we should be promoting the right to belong to a union and have employers recognise the right to take industrial action, including strikes and peaceful picketing. - See more at:

  2. Caroline Lucas, the Green Party’s MP for Brighton Pavilion, will vote against the Trade Union Bill later today. Lucas, who spoke last night at the Trade Union Congress’ annual conference, said today that she will fight the legislation in Parliament and, if it passes into law, be prepared to take ‘non-violent direct action to resist it’. - See more at:

  3. And of course a barrage of tweets from Greens at all levels calling for the Trade Union Bill to be scrapped. Endless times when our senior 'leaders' have stood on picket lines in solidarity with workers in struggle - where were Labour Party MPs?

  4. Charles you are missing the point. I agree with all you are saying but the fact is that a political party with almost 70,000 members failed to publish on its national website an official statement on the morning of the day on which the TUC and Parliament discussed the Trade Union Bill. Despite all our activities to oppose the Bill this major omission sends out all the wrong messages. Had I not published this article I am convinced that the GP would not have published any sort of statement today. As someone who was an active trade unionist for many years I find this omission very worrying but hopefully lessons will be learned.

  5. Crowley now resigns after Macgonigal over dodgy Pleasurama and Dreamland. Are Tdc still after you for the secret documents fines Ian?