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Trade Union Bill: Tories could drop plans for social media curbs

By Alan Jones

Unions have welcomed suggestions that the Government will not press ahead with controversial moves for police to be told two weeks in advance of any material intended to be posted on social media during a strike.

The proposal that unions in dispute should tell the police and employers about information put on Twitter or Facebook was included in part of a recent consultation paper on industrial relations.

It was criticised by unions and human rights groups, but there is speculation that it will not be included in the Government's plans.

The Business Department said the Government's response to consultations, which ended recently, will be given in due course.

Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the TUC, said : "This is welcome news if true. Forcing unions to tell employers and police two weeks in advance what they plan to post on Facebook and twitter is a huge threat to civil liberties.

"However, even if these proposals are dropped, the government is still threatening the right to strike through the Trade Union Bill. Ministers are still planning on allowing employers to break strikes with agency workers and tying unions up in red tape.

"One concession doesn't change the fact that this is the biggest attack on unions in over 30 years."

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Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said: "Although not confirmed at this point it is a positive sign that the Government cannot even convince Conservative backbench MPs of the ludicrous social media aspects of the Trade Union Bill.

"They now need to recognise the other draconian aspects of the Bill which make will make it almost impossible for trade unions to represent their millions of members."

A rally will be held in Westminster on Tuesday as part of growing protests against the Bill, which introduces a 50% threshold of workers eligible to vote before a strike can be legal.

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