TORIES MOVE TO ILLEGALISE STRIKES! – Unite offers ‘constructive discussions’

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‘THE government’s proposals on union ballots will make legal strikes close to impossible,’ TUC leader Francis O’Grady said yesterday.

She was responding to an announcement by the newly appointed Business Secretary, Sajid Javid, that the government will introduce new rules on strike ballots attacking the fundamental right to strike.

Javid announced that the new Tory government will allow employers to hire agency staff as strike breakers. He also said that new laws will be introduced to stop public sector strikes going ahead unless they have the support of 40% of workers eligible to vote.

The turnout will have to reach at least 50% of those entitled to vote for a strike to go ahead. If these rules were applied to the parliamentary voting system, not a single MP would be elected!

TUC General Secretary O’Grady responded: ‘This is a government not so much on the side of hard-working people but Britain’s worst bosses – those who want their staff to be on zero-hours contracts, poverty pay and unable to effectively organise in a union so that they can do something about it.

‘Union negotiators will be left with no more power than Oliver Twist when he asked for more.

‘After five years of falling living standards the prospects for decent pay rises have just got a whole lot worse.’

Unite has warned that the plan for a 50% voting threshold for industrial action ballots is ‘a terrible mistake’.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: ‘The divisive face of Conservatism has not taken long to reveal its face with the new Business Secretary Sajid Javid suggesting a 50 per cent turnout of all eligible union members voting for industrial action, instead of the straight majority now required.

‘It is a terrible shame and a big mistake that one of the government’s first acts is to attempt to reduce rights for working people that even past Tory administrations have upheld.

‘Voters did not put a tick in the box for this, especially as David Cameron has pledged that he wanted to reach out to all corners of Britain in the traditions of One Nation Conservatism.

‘Many of the electors, who provided the Tories with their slim majority, are working people concerned about justice and fairness in the workplace.

‘They won’t understand why this proposal is coming from a new administration with just 36.9 per cent of the vote to underpin its legitimacy.

‘Unite urges Sajid Javid and his colleagues think long and hard about this move as there are better ways of improving the mechanisms for industrial action ballots, such as electronic voting and ballots at the workplace. We are open for constructive discussions with ministers on these issues.’

Dave Wiltshire Secretary of the All Trade Union Alliance told News Line: ‘The working class has had enough of the trade union leaders crawling to the Tories, and even offering “constructive discussions’’ on how best to chain up the trade unions.

‘The TUC congress must be recalled. The present set of leaders must be sacked and a new leadership must call an indefinite general strike to defend this basic right to strike and bring down the Tories and go forward to a workers’ government and socialism.’