Nick Parker

Sixty people from Lincoln are protesting outside of the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester today. They have joined other trade unionists and activists who oppose legislation surrounding trade unions, including the Trade Union Bill.

With the bill’s second reading in Parliament on 28 September, the proposed legislation hopes to introduce fresh restrictions to strike ballots, picketing and union funds.

Nick Parker, Secretary of the Lincoln and District TUC, explained why it’s important to oppose the bill, along with other standing trade union laws:

“We want to stand up and say we want to protect workers’ right. We want to actually get better workers’ rights and not worse workers’ rights.

“As a trade union movement, we want to protect what we’ve got in place at the moment, but we want to extend rights as well.”

Alongside Parker, representatives from the National Union of Teachers, Unite Community and the People’s Assembly, stood together against the proposed legislation, which will introduce a threshold of 50% turnout for industrial action ballots and lift the ban on using agency workers to replace permanent staff during strike periods. The bill will also require a ‘lead person’, who must inform police and employers of strike actions 14 days in advance.

Nick continued: “We want to see the right reinstated to organise solidarity action and secondary picketing as well. It’s not necessarily such a bad thing to take strike action against something that is not just about your immediate terms and conditions.”

The 60 people in Lincoln will finish their march with about 80,000 others later this afternoon in Manchester.