Monday, May 17, 2010

Too angry to think of a witty title for a blog post!

This news is almost but not quite unbelievable.

UNITE’s ballot in favour of strike action by BA aircrew is ruled unlawful by a judge because of minor errors in communicating the result. That’s a bit like saying we should rerun the General Election because of a typo in the newspaper reporting the outcome (as a Grauniad reader that suddenly seems to me like a good idea!)

This outrageous extension of the legal restrictions on the right to strike through judge-made law is a timely advantage for the Government of Millionaires and underline the point that the judiciary, as much as the legislature and executive, are part of the state apparatus which exists to perpetuate a capitalist class society.

I agree with Bob Crow who has said that “there is no doubt that this new Con-Dem government wants to effectively outlaw strikes in publicly used services before they swing the axe at our hospitals, schools and fire stations, and the courts are the battering ram to make that happen.”

This poses an incredibly serious challenge to UNISON given that in recent years our Standing Orders Committee has been given legal advice that the meaning of Rule B.4.5 is such that our Conference may not even debate the possibility of deciding to break the law.

Given the impact of public spending cuts upon the poorest and most vulnerable in our society we may need to remind ourselves of the words of George Lansbury.

"It is better to break the law than to break the poor".

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