Business secretary Sajid Javid has defended the government’s Trade Union Bill in his speech to the Conservative party conference today, saying that the new law would protect “working people”.
“For too long, trade unions have been able to bully working people by striking, even though only a small number of their members have voted for strike action,” Javid told conference delegates in Manchester. “So we are introducing new laws to ensure working people’s lives aren’t unfairly disrupted.”
The Trade Union Bill includes new requirements for voter turnout in strike ballots, and has been criticised by union leaders, who say it is “undemocratic”.
But Javid dismissed the trade unions’ opposition, calling out Unite general secretary Len McCluskey by saying, “If Red Len’s best defence is to call me a class traitor, then I know what we’re doing is absolutely right”.
Javid also told conference delegates that he was “shamelessly pro-business”, but added that being “pro-business does not mean that you turn a blind eye to bad practice”.
Alluding to Libor rate-fixing and the recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal, Javid said: “Whether you're a bank rigging interest rates, a car manufacturer cheating on emissions, or a company not paying your fair share of tax, be warned we will come after you.
“Because free enterprise is not a free-for-all,” he said.