Thomas Bridge 15 June 2015

Union could defy strike laws

The head of Britain’s largest trade union has said he is not ruling out staging illegal strikes if the Government launches tougher rules on industrial action.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, has branded ‘undemocratic’ Government plans to ban strike action in key services without at least a 50% turnout in ballots and the support of at least 40% of those entitled to vote.

He vowed the union would ‘resist’ the proposals, fighting the ‘vindictive’ proposals in the Commons ‘with all our means’.

Prentis told The Independent: ‘Industrial action for us is the last resort, but we are not going to have employers being able to act in brutal ways and our people not to be able to stand up for themselves.

‘If it means taking unlawful action, that is something we will have to look at – because it’s the law that has moved against us.

‘It’s not us seeking to break the law. We have been put in this position. We’re not ruling anything out. Why should we?’

‘It is vindictive. What they are saying is that anybody who abstains is voting “no”. Apply that to police commissioners, and we wouldn’t have any. Apply that to many MPs, and they wouldn’t be elected. It’s a 1970s-type attack on trade unions,’ he added.

Unison’s local government conference in Glasgow has today warned councils are in the eye of a ‘perfect storm’ of funding cuts, redundancies and shrinking front line services, which are ‘weakening the social fabric’ of communities.

Photo: David Burrows/

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