Paul McFarlane 09 April 2015

Breaking the strike law?

‘Unions must be able to fight for workers – even if it means breaking bad laws’ Len McCluskey, Leader of Unite the Union – Guardian 19 March 2015.

Unite, the Union, has laid down the gauntlet to a future Conservative government. This follows recent proposals by the Conservative Party to place further limits on trade unions ability to call on their members to take part in lawful industrial action (see below). Unite has recently recommended that its rules be changed so that the words 'so far as may be lawful' will no longer apply when its seeks to induce its members to take part in strike action.

Why has Unite taken this radical step? Currently, for a strike to be lawful, a union must ballot its members and gain a simple majority in favour from those who vote. However, the Conservatives have put forward proposals which include insisting that 50% of union members vote in ballots that approve industrial action.

This proposal is seen by unions as undemocratic has many politicians (particularly local councillors, the Mayor of London etc.) are elected on turnouts which are much less than 50%. None of the other major political parties have indicated that they support this proposal.

To read the full article, visit The MJ.

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