Stephen Cavalier, chief executive of Thompsons Solicitors has today (13 October 2015) given evidence before the Trade Union Public Bill Committee in the House of Commons.

He said that the Bill was “unlawful, unwarranted and unworkable” and that “in several respects it appears that the Bill has been designed specifically to make it difficult, if not impossible, to take the necessary steps to comply with its provisions.”

Speaking on behalf of Thompsons, the largest trade union solicitors in the UK, employment law specialist Mr. Cavalier exposed fundamental flaws in the legitimacy and legality of the proposed Bill.

In his evidence to the Committee, Mr Cavalier called the Trade Union Bill ‘an unwarranted ideological attack on internationally recognised rights in this country’.

He told the Committee that the Bill contained unlawful, unwarranted and unworkable provisions that contravened the UK’s international law obligations and that if the government was serious about increasing participation in trade union ballots ‘it would permit safe and secure electronic and workplace balloting’.

Citing European Convention and contrasting the proposed laws with every other mainstream European state, Mr. Cavalier pointed to the Bill's requirements for trade unions to pass their details to police, provide a letter of authority and have a supervisor ‘readily contactable’ during picketing – provisions which are wholly discriminatory against unions and their members and drag the police into industrial disputes.

The requirement for union members to wear armbands during a protest and the powers given to the Certification Officer to act as inquisitor, prosecutor, judge, jury and enforcer were described by Mr Cavalier as ‘overtly authoritarian’ and ‘oppressive’.

Mr. Cavalier said: “This Bill is a full-frontal assault on the rights of working people. The right of workers to act collectively and ultimately, as a last resort to strike is fundamental and essential to any democratic society.

“The rights of workers and their trade unions are recognised across the world, yet this Tory government seems to believe it is above international law.”