Friday, 11 July 2014

Right to Strike - Yes (but we want our say)

It must be every workers fundamental right to withdraw their labour in protest without fear of sanction. An employer who flouts this right must be brought to task. This is a right we have earned as a civilised society but with every right there is a great responsibility. Just as a employers should not be allowed to interfere with the right to strike so the employees should not be allowed to hold the country to ransom merely over the threat of strike action. This is nothing new and, indeed, nothing Tory. As long ago as 1969 Barbara Castle published the White Paper "In Place of Strife" which proposed major Government intervention on Union activity and strikes. In 1979, the Labour Prime Minister considered declaring a state of Emergency to bring the Union Barons to heel. Spineless as ever the Labour Government stopped short of rattling their paymaster's cage allowing the country to go bankrupt ushering in the IMF humiliation. Even after much needed reforms the recent public sector strike was able to go ahead on the basis of a voter turnout of 1 in 4. The Union Barons compare this to General Elections, Mayoral elections, etc. where we would all love a greater turnout. Fine, if the Union bosses want parity then so be it. General, Local, PCC and Mayoral Election candidates are voted on by those who are affected by the result of the election. If the public sector want to strike then let the ballot not just be for Union members, not even just for all employees regardless of union membership but extended to all those affected by the strike. The parents of the children who won't be taught, the households whose bins won't be collected and the bereaved whose loved ones won't be buried should all have a right to have a say. With great power comes great responsibility so either have a strike called by a majority of members or let's have a universal franchise. If, as the Unions insist, the strikes enjoy public support then they should fully support this.

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