The 1975 Employment Protection Act obliged employers to allow paid employees time-off to carry out Trade Union duties. This actually just recognised and enshrined in law the position then obtaining at the vast Midlands auto plants, and in Fleet Street, where the papers paid 'protection' money to the print chapels that included many TU officials drawing full wage packets without doing a stroke of work.
Folk forget it was the much-despised Murdoch who broke the back of these practices when he moved NI to Wapping. The car plants just became insolvent and disappeared. The law is an anachronistic little bit of Socialist legislation way beyond its sell-by date and needs to be quietly scrapped.
Cameron's announcement yesterday that it was to go in the public sector (and presumably the private sector, too) was just common sense.