CBI calls for more anti-union laws!


YESTERDAY the employers’ organisation, the CBI, was joined by Tory London mayor, Boris Johnson, in demanding further laws to outlaw strike action against the savage cuts being imposed by the coalition government.

In a report entitled ‘Keeping the Wheels Turning’, issued symbolically on the day the London tube workers came out over huge cuts in staffing levels, the CBI demanded changes in the law to make it virtually impossible for unions to call legal strike action.

Central to their demands is introducing a threshold of 40 per cent for strike ballots.

No longer would a majority vote in favour of strike action be enough but at least 40 per cent of the workers would have to have actually voted for strike action.

Not content with ‘raising the bar’ to a level not achieved in most general elections, the CBI wants the notice period unions have to give employers of a strike increased from 7 to 14 days, to give them more time to organise scabbing action.

To make strike breaking even easier they are also demanding that employers be allowed to recruit scab agency workers directly from employment agencies, something that the law at present does not allow.

To drive the point home that the CBI is preparing for mass strikes against the jobs massacre being planned, its report calls for changes in time scale relating to the ‘consultation period’ employers are legally bound to hold with their workers in the event of large-scale redundancies.

Here they are demanding that this period be reduced from the present 90 days to 30 days.

Britain already has the most vicious anti-union laws in the world, as we have seen in the past twelve months.

Strikes by both railworkers and BA cabin crew have been declared illegal on the grounds that the unions did not inform every member of the ballot result, while the strike over last Christmas by BA cabin crew was halted mainly on the grounds of ‘inconvenience’ to travellers over the holiday period, and by extension severe damage to BA’s profits.

Even these draconian laws are not enough for the CBI and their Tory helpers.

They are acutely aware that the kind of cuts that are already being made is creating a firestorm of anger within the working class and its unions, a firestorm that will erupt at any time.

While LibDem minister Vince Cable makes soothing noises about there being no plans to change the strike laws, senior Tories like cabinet minister Francis Maud are refusing to rule out emergency legislation should the government’s attempts to lay waste public sector jobs provoke mass strike action.

What of the TUC leadership?

TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, responded to the CBI’s demands in a most instructive way.

Whilst making the usual noises about how ‘undemocratic’ the demands were he went on to say ‘No one welcomes the odd day’s disruption, but it is a price worth paying for a fundamental right’.

So no one, Tories, bosses, etc., should be worried about a one day strike, that merely causes inconvenience, that is why Barber and the TUC do not mind them too much.

A General Strike on the other hand is a completely different kettle of fish.

There can be no doubt that these demands of the CBI, and even more draconian ones outlawing strikes altogether, are in the pipeline, laws that would turn the working class into little more than slaves.

No amount of one day inconveniences can meet this threat, only an extremely inconvenient general strike to remove this government and replace it with a workers government will suffice.