Sturgeon to warn Cameron over trade union reforms

Nicola Sturgeon and David Cameron are to have talks today. Picture: Getty
Nicola Sturgeon and David Cameron are to have talks today. Picture: Getty
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  • First Minister set to accuse Cameron of ‘slapping sanctions on workers’
  • Bid to stop Trade Union Bill being imposed on employees in Scotland
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Nicola Sturgeon will accuse David Cameron of “slapping sanctions on workers” by imposing the Trade Union Bill on Scotland when she holds talks with the Prime Minister in London today.

Ms Sturgeon said she will take the fight against the Bill, which restricts industrial actions, into Downing Street when she meets Mr Cameron for talks on 

The meeting will also focus on rules underpinning Scotland’s new tax and welfare powers, which Mr Cameron said “must be fair to Scotland, fair to the rest of the UK, and built to last”.

Ms Sturgeon said she would restate SNP demands that Scotland must not lose out from changes to the way the Scottish budget is calculated when the powers are devolved.

However, the First Minister said she would also press Mr Cameron to abandon what she claims is a “damaging piece of legislation” on trade unions being introduced against the wishes of Scots.

The Bill from the UK government, which holds powers over employment law, includes a requirement for a 40 per cent turnout threshold for strike ballots in “important public services”. It would also end the “check off” system, whereby union subscriptions are taken directly from the pay of workers.

An attempt at Holyrood by the Scottish Government to block the bill from applying to Scotland, on the grounds that there was “clear opposition” to it, was refused by Holyrood’s Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick, who ruled that it did not infringe on devolved matters.

However, Ms Sturgeon will tell Mr Cameron today that the Conservative government has no mandate to introduce the bill in Scotland.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, she said: “There is clear opposition across Scottish society and across the Scottish Parliament to this damaging piece of legislation.

“The number of days lost to strike action have been reduced in Scotland by 84 per cent through partnership working, not by slapping sanctions on workers. To impose this bill on Scotland would be an unacceptable step and I will make that clear to the Prime Minister.”

Meanwhile, Mr Cameron has said he will use the talks to discuss how the UK and Scottish governments can co-operate more on security matters, to ensure that people north and south of the Border are “protected equally from the threat of Daesh-inspired” terrorism.

He said: “We know that Daesh pose a very direct threat to our country and our way of life. That threat applies across the UK and so it is essential that the UK government and the governments of our devolved nations co-operate in the most effective way.”