15 April 2015
It has been said many a time that the UK’s legislation on industrial disputes is already one of the most regressive of any developed economy. If the Tories are reelected, it’s set to get even worse.
Under the proposed changes, industrial action in “essential services” must have the support of at least 40% of those balloted to be lawful, in addition to the existing requirement that the action should have the support of a majority of those voting.
The move would constitute an effective ban on the right to strike in the public services
Applying the principle to Parliament, many top Tories, including George Osborne, Iain Duncan Smith, Theresa May, and union-basher Francis Maude would have fallen short of the threshold that they wholeheartedly support when applied to the unions.
No mention of the plans were given at the Tory manifesto launch in Swindon on Tuesday (April 14), where Cameron praised himself of an economic recovery far from the truth.
Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary said: “The Tories’ proposed crackdown on trade union rights is an attempt to turn the clock back to the era of Margaret Thatcher and her union-smashing agenda.
“When it comes to electoral credibility and thresholds, David Cameron must be a little red faced when so many of his own cabinet and ministers failed to win 40 per cent of the vote in the 2010 election.
“If David Cameron wants to increase participation in ballots then he should join us in demanding the right to secure online voting and the ability for workers to vote in their workplaces.”
“The Conservative plans on industrial action ballots will make it almost impossible for unions to call a legal strike. No other mainstream political party in the democratic world has suggested such a fundamental attack on this basic human right.
“David Cameron has admitted that Britain needs a pay rise, but he wants to stop workers doing anything about it.”
However the policy could be in contravention of International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention 87 on freedom of association and the right to organise.
The Institute of Employment rights has covered this issue extensively. Read Keith Ewing and John Hendy’s blog Tory plans to restrict the right to strike have been widely condemned for in depth analysis on the move and its legality