The Scottish Government have asked to be excluded from the measures brought in by the controversial Trade Union Bill.

 In a letter to UK Minister for Skills Nick Boles, the Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work Skills & Training, Roseanna Cunningham told delegates said the bill would, “undermine the effective engagement of trade unions across Scottish workplaces.”

Cunningham’s announcement came as the SNP conference was addressed by Grahame Smith, the General Secretary of the STUC . It is the first time a leader of the trade union body has spoken at SNP conference.

In her speech, Cunningham said bill would have a major impact on employees rights, including the ability to strike. This bill would, Cunningham said: “Change the relationship between unions and organisations negatively, and lead to greater confusion amongst employees. This directly impacts across Scottish business and especially our devolved public services in Scotland. I believe this is not a constructive platform upon which we can pursue our ambitions for Scottish workers.”

The minister went on to say that Scotland should be excluded because of the “scope for abuse in the future”, and because there would be “no formal opportunity for the Scottish Government to influence such regulations”.

The bill sees rules on striking massively restricted with minimum turnout thresholds for strike ballots introduced. In public services, at least 40 per cent of union members need to back the strike.

Every Scottish local authority has already said they will ignore the Trade Union bill. Smith, calling his chance to speak on the Trade Union at the conference, an “historic opportunity” claimed that the problems the bill was trying to adress “simply don’t exist”.

"We do not have a strike problem. And even if we did, that would be no reason to trample over workers’ civil and human rights. The so called ‘evidence’ on picketing, none or which comes from employers or workers claiming intimidation, includes such extreme tactics as the use of air horns in public places, walking slowly in front of vehicles, using the internet to post intimidatory material and blocking the access for shoppers at the doors to retail stores.”

He went on: “I think it is intimidation for an employer to threaten to decimate a local community or indeed a national economy, if a union and its members do not agree to accept cuts in their pay, terms and conditions and pensions.”