Responding to manifesto proposals announced tonight (Friday) by the Conservative Party on thresholds for public sector strike ballots, TUC General Secretary Frances Oâ€™Grady said: â€œThe Conservatives know that this threshold will effectively end the right to strike in the public sector.
No democracy elsewhere in the world has this kind of restriction on industrial action. It is a democratic outrage, especially as the Conservatives have opposed allowing secure and secret online balloting â€“ the one measure guaranteed to increase turnouts.”
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said the proposed measures would make it “virtually impossible for anyone in the public sector to go on strike”.
This, he added, would “shift the balance completely in favour of the government and employers, and away from dedicated public servants.
“The UK already has tough laws on strikes – there is no need to make them stricter still.”
And GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: “Only 16 out of 650 elected Members of Parliament secured the support of 40% of those entitled to vote in their parliamentary constituency area election in 2010.
“Only 15 Tory MPs out of 303 secured that level of support. They had no hesitation in forming a government in 2010 without securing 40% support from the electorate.”
Unite’s Len McCluskey issued the following statement:
“Yet again, the Conservatives line themselves up behind big business and against working people. Â This latest threat will hit workers enacting their fundamental right to stand up for fair wages, to save our public services and defend their jobs and pensions.Â
“The way to resolve such disputes is through negotiations – not to intimidate and silence by legislation. The way to improve turnouts is to modernise balloting, something trade unions have repeatedly called for but been ignored by the Conservatives who are determined roll back the rights of working people.
“This speaks volumes about the sort of government we could expect from the Tories. Â We already have the most backwards trade union laws in Europe yet they want to bounce us further to the dark ages. Â In the year we commemorate the birth of our freedoms with the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, the Tories want to place the UK in the same league as some of the most anti-democratic regimes on the planet.
“These moves are chilling, and will ring alarm bells in workplaces right across the land.”
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:Â “This morning the transport secretary and his Tory Party colleagues have outlined plans that would rig strike ballots in favour of the same gang of dodgy bosses that bankroll the Conservatives up to the hilt.
“Let’s not forget that the Tories took a huge wedge of cash from Jon Moulton, the guy who folded City Link on Christmas Day leaving thousands of workers facing ruin. It’s no surprise that they are demanding new legislation which will tighten the noose of the anti union laws around worker’s throats.Â
Â “These same old Tories are elected on pathetic turnouts with minority support but they want one form of democracy for a corrupt political class and another for the organised working class. They will be fought tooth and nail. “