Conservative strike proposals: Short on detail and long on union bashing
What the Tories are proposing today on strike regulation is an unprecedented attack on human rights in the UK. “Sensible and proportionate” says Francis Maude. The opposite is true – it is thuggish, prejudiced, political and utterly disproportionate.
Trade unions are already heavily regulated and regularly find themselves at the end of a court injunction on a minor technical error.
As well as introducing a double hurdle that is not used in other ballots in the UK, by requiring a minimum 50% turnout AND a simple majority voting yes (in other words abstentions become a vote against), they are planning to criminalise peaceful picketing and require levels of detail to be given to employers that will be well nigh impossible to achieve and thereby hugely increase the risk of an injunction to stop the strike before it starts.
They have also noticed that like everyone else trade union members use modern means of communication to provide information and updates on developments during industrial action. They have decided to allow gross intrusion into these communications by the state and/or employers to prevent any “intimidation”. In reality they will use these powers to spy on trade union activists and attempt to prevent them from peaceful picketing, leafleting and other forms of communication with each other and with members of the public. They will go on fishing expeditions in search of incriminating messages, which will undoubtedly result in unacceptable intrusion into personal emails, texts, etc.
They keep banging on about red tape and regulatory burdens on business. What about red tape and regulatory burdens on unions?
They keep banging on about strikes being unsupported by the majority of union members. Then why don’t they allow electronic balloting to encourage maximum turnout? The TUC has been asking for that for years now. They accuse us of being dinosaurs then prevent us from moving into the 21st century.
Their disliking of working people is palpable. To attack the collective, democratic workplace voice of millions of citizens is truly outrageous, and we must ensure that these undemocratic and dangerous plans are fully exposed for what they are.