Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tories set to all but end right to strike - how shall we respond?


Unlike the Lib Dems five years ago it looks like the Tories intend to keep to some (at least) of their manifesto commitments.

The widely canvassed 50% turnout threshold for strike ballots (with a higher bar of 40% of the membership voting "YES" for action in a range of public services) looks set to be legislated for this year.

Even if the Lords delay this new shackle on workers' rights it'll be law within a couple of years. None of the (admittedly limited) national action taken by UNISON members in recent years would have met these thresholds.

Precious few local disputes would have produced "lawful" action had the law been as our enemies now intend to write it.

Clearly we must organise a political campaign against these proposals, emanating as they do from a Government which would not have a mandate to propose this legislation if similar thresholds applied to Parliament itself.

This campaign must unashamedly make the case for the right to strike, and ‎we need to start by winning this argument with our own members.

However, we must also review the approach of slavish adherence to ever more draconian legal restrictions upon our ability to represent and defend our members' interests.

This will have to start with a change of heart from our Standing Orders Committee (SOC) who have taken to ruling out of order motions based upon the slightest hint that the law might be breached.

If this is done again this year it will make a liar of our General Secretary, whose email message to activists today says that our National Delegate Conference will debate our response to the General Election result.

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.

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