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Fact Check-Screenshot of UK government proposal to ban trade unions is a fake

Social media users have been sharing a fake screenshot of a GOV.UK webpage, which falsely states that the Cabinet Office is proposing a ban on trade unions, as well as considering the introduction of “a 996 working hour system”. The Cabinet Office told Reuters it does not recognise the page, nor the claims made.

One Facebook user, whose post has been shared more than 190 times (here), uploaded the screengrab alongside the caption: “They can stick this paper up their a**e!!”

The mocked-up webpage, titled ‘Reformation of Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992’, incorrectly states that, on Sep. 13, 2022, the government published a Green Paper on reforming the Act to include a ban on trade unions and to consider “options for a 996 working hour system to increase British ranking in the Global Competitiveness Index”. It also includes the GOV.UK logo in the top-left corner.

Similar posts can be seen on Facebook (here, here and here) and on Twitter (here), where it has been shared more than 710 times. Some of the posts suggest that the proposals have been purposely released while people are distracted by news coverage of the death and funeral of Queen Elizabeth.

The Act (here), also known as TULCRA, defines and governs the roles of trade unions, including in relation to collective bargaining and industrial action (tmsnrt.rs/3RNWUOa).

The 996 working hour system refers to the idea of working between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., six days a week. Reuters has reported on this practice being carried out in China in recent years (here, here, here and here).

However, the webpage is not real and the screenshot appears to be digitally manipulated.

A Google search for the page’s verbatim title produced no evidence of its existence (bit.ly/3qDzGP5). Likewise, no matching result was produced when searching the UK Government website (bit.ly/3BIbiSw).

The Cabinet Office also confirmed to Reuters it neither recognises the page nor the claims. The only pages it published on Sept. 13 were updates and guidance surrounding the Queen’s death and Lying-in-State (here).

A government-led proposal to ban trade unions would likely generate widespread news reports; however, Reuters found no sign of any such articles (bit.ly/3UaVG1g).

The claim has also been addressed by another outlet (here).

VERDICT

False. The screenshot has been digitally altered and there are currently no UK Government proposals to ban trade unions or introduce a 996 working hour system.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.

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