Are the Tories planning to push through anti-trade unions laws?

unions and labour

The Conservatives could put forward new legislation to clamp down on strikes as early as next week, according to this morning’s Daily Mail. The paper reports that a Trades Union Bill could be fast-tracked to the Commons ‘within days’ in order to avoid expected further industrial action later this year. Parliament rises for the summer recess on July 21st, and the Government could put forward their plans before that.

Proposals were put forward in the Conservative manifesto that would limit the ability of unions to carry out strike action, even if those balloted voted in favour of it.

Writing in this morning’s LabourList email, Conor Pope analysed the move:

“With their first solo majority in 18 years, the Tories are certainly in a hurry to sort their priorities. We’ve already had an Emergency Budget, delivered by the same person who delivered the non-Emergency Budget back in March. Next week, the last before the summer recess, we can expect to see the Government try and repeal the ban on fox hunting.

Today, the Mail tells us that plans are afoot to rush through new anti-trade union laws in the next few days too.

The haste is apparently prompted by yesterday’s tube strike in London, although we are already aware of what the legislation is likely to contain. As outlined in the Conservative manifesto, we expect to see them put forward 50% turnout minimums on strike ballots, and strikes in essential services needing the backing of 40% of all those eligible to vote. Many trade unionists support measures such as electronic voting, which would make it easier to increase turnouts – but the Government opposes those reforms.

Strike thresholds would not have ended all action yesterday, however. At least one union, Aslef, had an 81% turnout for their industrial action. If the Tories push through a new wave of anti-union laws, I imagine we’d see plenty more pickets by the end of the year.”

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