‘Everybody out?’ – Not if the Government can help it
Many employers in Suffolk are able to regard Trades Unions as an irrelevance. However, for some larger employers, particularly in the public sector, Trades Unions and the possibility of strikes are a major consideration for managers. The Government is moving to make industrial action a bit harder. This is stirring up the TU movement, to the extent that some more militant ones are saying that they will not continue to abide by the law if it is made too tight, raising once again the possibility of ‘unlawful industrial action.’ If you are as old as me you will remember Arthur Scargill and the literal fights that a strike could mean in the 1980’s.
The main Government proposals are in the draft Trades Union Bill published in July 2015. These are:-
- industrial action will require a 50% turnout.
- 40% of all eligible voters must vote in favour of industrial action which affects important public services.
- the ban on using agency staff to cover striking workers will be lifted.
- there will be a 4 month limit on a strike mandate, after which another ballot is required (this won’t apply to ballots taking place before the Act comes into force, assuming it is passed).
- more specific requirements for the wording of the ballot paper.
- banning automatic opt-ins to political donations from trade union subscription fees.
- the amount of notice of a strike to be given to an employer will be increased from 7 to 14 days.
Further details are on the Government’s Consultation website and there is until 9 September 2015 to respond.
- You may be interested to know that Arthur Scargill is still about, now 75 and leader of the Socialist Labour Party. He hasn’t given up and in April 2015 he said that his party would bring ‘economic prosperity’ by re-nationalising steelworks and reopening mines which he claims have 1,000-year coal reserves. Rather unlikely that he will approve of the new strike laws, or that he would feel the need to obey them…………