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Chuka Umunna: Strike reforms are a 'gagging bill'

Labour’s shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna has described the government's trade union reform plans as " the latest in a long line of attempts to stifle reasonable democratic scrutiny, protest and challenge".

He said: "The bill tries to drive a false wedge between government, industry, employees and the public by restricting rights – and at worst criminalising – ordinary working people, from midwives to factory workers to challenge low-pay or health and safety concerns.

“After muzzling charities and restricting access to justice this is the latest attempt to silence critics of this government and its policies.”

Yvette Cooper: Strike reform is 'ideologically driven'

Yvette Cooper Credit: PA / PA Wire

Yvette Cooper, one of Labour's leadership candidates, said that the government's plans for trade unions are an "ideologically driven attack on Britain's trade unions" which "puts narrow Tory party interests ahead of what is right for the country".

"It not only undermines years of progress on workers' rights, but it also breaks the growing consensus on the need to reform funding of political parties.

"This is another example of the Tories employing cheap divide-and-rule tactics."

RMT: Unions will 'fight brutal assault on human rights'

Mick Cash (centre) has harsh words for the Tories' union plans Credit: Rick Findler / PA Archive

The government's plans to make strikes harder to organise has been criticised as a "brutal assault on the most basic of human rights" by Mick Cash, the leader of the RMT.

He also said that the government's plan "mirrors the actions of hard-right regimes throughout history".

He added: "The trade union movement will unite to fight this brutal assault on the most basic of human rights and that campaign will be taken into the communities who stand to lose access to safe and reliable services as this noose of the anti-union laws is twisted round our necks."

McCluskey denies Labour Party disaffiliation plans

Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Unite has categorically denied that unions are considering disaffiliating from Labour.

"This idea that we are considering disaffiliating from the Labour Party is nonsense," he told ITV News political correspondent Emily Morgan today.

He added: "In many ways the Labour Party has never been as united as it currently is."

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Murphy: Labour leaders 'should not be picked by union boss'

Jim Murphy launched a broadside attack on Unite boss Len McCluskey as he announced he will resign as leader of the Scottish Labour party.

Mr Murphy said that while trade unionists were "a source of enormous strength and moral purpose" to Labour, the party should not be beholden "to one man."

One of the things about stepping down is that you can say things in public that so many people in the Labour party only say in private. So whether it's in Scotland and the contest to come across the UK. We cannot have our leaders selected - or de-selected - by the grudges and grievances of one prominent man.

The leader of the Scottish Labour party doesn't serve at the grace of Len McCluskey. And the next leader of the UK Labour party should not be picked by Len McCluskey.

– Jim Murphy

TUC: Volunteer days could be used at union activities

A union has welcomed Conservative plans to give emplyess three days paid leave to take part in voluntary wor.

The TUC said that members would be able to use the time to get more involved in their union.

The TUC has long called for a Community Day Bank Holiday to encourage volunteering and community engagement. We therefore welcome any move that makes employers recognise the benefits of volunteering and social action.

Trade unions are the UK's biggest voluntary groups. This new right will give every union member a guaranteed three days for time off to get involved with union activities.

– Frances O'Grady, TUC general secretary

Union boss: What about a pay rise for nurses?

A union boss has attacked the Prime Minister for suggesting private sector pay rises when most of the country has seen a real terms pay cut - particularly in the public sector.

Paul Nowak, assistant general secretary of the TUC, said: "If David Cameron wants business leaders to take his message ... seriously, he needs to take practical pay to boost the pay of our doctors, our nurses, our local government workers."

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