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Approval for Trade Union Bill denied

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Leighton Andrews AM: Trade Union Bill is ‘damaging and divisive’

Leighton Andrews AM: Trade Union Bill is ‘damaging and divisive’

THE WELSH GOVERNMENT voted against legislation which will restrict the powers of Trade Unions – but the UK Government has said that it will continue with the bill, making a Supreme Court showdown increasingly likely.

On Tuesday (Jan 26) Labour Plaid and the Liberal Democrats all voted to withhold Assembly approval of parts of the Trade Union Bill.

Among other controversial points, the bill, which was part of the Conservative Government’s manifesto for the General Election, places new restrictions on public sector strikes, requiring 40% of eligible members to vote in favour of industrial action.

As has been pointed out, this would be a larger mandate than that obtained by the current Westminster Government.

Employment law is not a devolved matter, but the Welsh Government claims that because services such as health and education are devolved, that policy relating to these areas should come under Welsh Government control.

First Minister Carwyn Jones has already said that a Labour-led Welsh Government would take steps to repeal the bill in Wales, in the event that Tuesday’s vote was ignored by the UK Government.

It would then become the responsibility of the UK Government to challenge the matter in the Supreme Court, risking a damaging defeat which would raise questions about the legislation in England.

Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews said: “The Bill is damaging, divisive and risks undermining public services and the economy. We believe it will lead to a confrontational relationship between employers and workforce. It contrasts sharply with the constructive social partnership approach in Wales – valuing the workforce, supporting public services and encouraging enterprise. Overall, we believe the Bill is flawed and should not be pursued.”

“Significant parts of the Bill relate specifically to public services which are clearly devolved. It is not acceptable for the UK Government to try to impose it on Wales. Despite repeated attempts to engage with the Prime Minister and the Minister for State Nick Boles MP, our devolved interests have not been recognised.”

Mid and West AM Rebecca Evans added: “Whatever happened to the Prime Minister’s promised “agenda of respect” between the UK Government and Wales? Those were warm words, but they are certainly not matched by actions. It is not acceptable that the UK Government seeks to force a flawed Bill on Wales.

“In Wales, we value our public service workforce and we know the value of the services that they provide. This Bill seeks to undermine those workers’ rights, and risks needlessly damaging relationships between employers and employees.”

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said: “Leanne Wood AM said: “Plaid Cymru is against the UK Government’s Trade Union Bill and supports partnership instead. Trade unions play an important role and reducing that role will not help working people with pay or with conditions. The bill intrudes on devolution and public services at the very time when the UK Government claims to be delivering further powers to the National Assembly. All sections of society must reject this bill being imposed on Wales.”

Peter Black AM, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Social Justice Minister, said: “The Tories’ proposals are fundamentally undemocratic and constitute a massive assault on the civil liberties of our workers. We will fight to protect the human rights of workers and ensure their ability to strike and assemble isn’t diminished.

“I’m pleased the Assembly has voted these terrible proposals down. Conservative Ministers now must respect the voice of this Assembly and not force these draconian plans on Welsh workers.”

Tuesday’s vote is not legally binding, and as a consequence, the UK Government will continue with its plans.

During the debate, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives – the only party to vote against the motion – accused rival parties of using the debate for their own political gain.

Andrew RT Davies said he was in favour of the rights of workers but, he added: “Where I will not stand up and support is for Len McCluskey, or his mob, to use you lot to live their ambitions.”

“Where there is a discrepancy I would suggest is where general secretaries of unions choose to live their political dreams on the back of their members’ subs, and that clearly is not acceptable.”

Mr Davies appeared to be referring to plans to abolish the ‘check off’ system, where Union subs are taken directly from wage packets of members. This was recently the subject of a House of Lords vote, in which a Labour amendment to put the matter before a select committee before progressing was passed by 327 votes to 234.

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Llandeilo gas works to begin say Wales & West Utilities

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WALES & West Utilities will shortly begin work to upgrade gas pipes in Llandeilo.

Wales & West Utilities has liaised with Carmarthenshire County Council to plan the work and it has been agreed that work will commence after the town has celebrated the Festival of Senses.

The £123,000 investment scheme, which is essential to keep the gas flowing safely to heat and power local homes and businesses, will begin in New Road on 21 November. This section of work will be complete before Christmas and Wales & West Utilities will return to the town next year to undertake further work in the Crescent Road area. Barring any engineering difficulties, work in the town will be complete by the end of February next year.

Wales & West Utilities Adam Smith is managing this gas pipe upgrade work. He said: “Working with the Council, we have planned this work to accommodate the needs of the town.

“While most of the gas network is underground and out of sight, it plays a central role in the daily lives of people across Llandeilo. Whether it’s heating your home, making the family dinner or having a hot bath, we understand how important it is for your gas supply to be safe and reliable and there when you need it.

“We know that working in areas like this is not ideal, but it really is essential to make sure we keep the gas flowing to homes and businesses in the area, and to make sure the gas network is fit for the future. We’ll have a team of gas engineers on site throughout the project to make sure our work is completed as safely and as quickly as possible while keeping disruption to a minimum.

“This work is essential to keep the gas flowing to local homes and businesses today, and to make sure the gas network is ready to transport hydrogen and biomethane, so we can all play our part in a green future.”

Our Customer Service Team is ready to take your call if you have any questions about our work. You can contact them on freephone 0800 912 2999.

Alternatively, you can contact us on Twitter @WWUtilities or Facebook.com/WWUtilities.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night. Before visiting, we’ll ask you to let us know if you or anyone in your household, is experiencing Coronavirus symptoms or self-isolating. We’ll still come and help you: but our teams will take some additional precautions to keep us all safe.

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Police appeal following theft of items from Home Bargains Crosshands

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OFFICERS from Dyfed Powys Police have confirmed that they are investigating the theft of items, including a Christmas Nutcracker Ornament valued at £129.99, from the Home Bargains store in Crosshands, Carmarthenshire.

The theft occurred at about 12:40pm on Tuesday, 27th September 2022.

Officers have carried out all possible lines of enquiry, and are now appealing for help from the public.

They would like to identify the people in the CCTV image, who may have information that could help the investigation.

Anyone who knows who the people are, or if you believe you are pictured, contact Dyfed-Powys Police.

This can also be done either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk or phoning 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Please quote reference DPP/2006/27/09/2022/02/C

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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Witness appeal after car is stolen and burnt out

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is investigating the theft of a car from a property in Lando Road, Burry Port, which was later found burnt out in Pembrey Country Park.

Officers are appealing for witnesses to the theft of the blue Ssangyong Rexton, which took place sometime between 5pm on Friday, 11th November, and 9am on Saturday, 12th November, and would like to speak to anyone who may have information or CCTV or dashcam footage.

Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Quote reference: DP-20221112-109

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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