Commission warns Trade Union Bill could breach people’s human rights

Published: 11 Jan 2016

Following an analysis of the Trade Union Bill, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has advised Parliament that a number of measures in the Bill may breach the right to strike.

Article 11 of the Human Rights Act gives everyone the right to form and join a union, and to protest peacefully. Some provisions in the Bill could contravene the UK’s obligations, including restrictions on how much time public sector employees can spend on union work and also increasing the notice of industrial action from seven days to two weeks.

This warning comes ahead of the second reading of the Trade Union Bill in the House of Lords this afternoon.

Lorna McGregor, a Commissioner at the Equality and Human Rights Commission said:

'As it stands, the Trade Union Bill is in danger of imposing potentially unlawful restrictions on everyone’s basic human right to strike. Joining a trade union and peacefully picketing outside workplaces is a right not a privilege and restrictions have to be properly justified and proportionate.'

Notes to editors

For further details, please see our Parliamentary briefing on the Trade Union Bill.

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