Section 18 of the Employment Bill was introduced in response to a European Court of Human Rights ruling that upheld the right of ASLEF to expel a BNP member from its union.
However, we now find ourselves in an even worse situation. A legal opinion on the Lords amendments concludes: "If the revised version of section 18 comes into law, I am convinced that it will become more difficult than ever for trade unions to expel BNP members. It will also be an opportunity for the BNP to pick publicity fights with trade unions, and also to waste trade union funds."
Trade Union Friends of Searchlight (TUFS) is launching a campaign to get MPs to reintroduce the original wording when the Employment Bill returns to the House of Commons this autumn.
- We believe that fascism is incompatible with the ethos of trade unionism. Trade unionism is built upon the concept of solidarity whilst the BNP seek to divide people on grounds of race, colour and religion.
- We believe that trade unions should have the right to exclude members of the BNP and other fascist parties from their membership.
- Unions should not be liable for any financial loss incurred by fascists if they are quite separately disciplined, overlooked for promotion or even sacked by employers after the union itself has taken action, as the Lords' amendments now state.
- We call on MPs to either discard the Lords amendments or introduce new wording that is favourable to unions.