05 May 2011

Boris renews calls for strike rule change

Boris Johnson today won widespread support after renewing calls for the Government to change strike rule laws.

The support comes after hard-working Londoners learnt that the RMT trade union is inflicting a series of unprecedented strikes on the Tube.

These strikes - called in protest over the sacking of two drivers whose cases are still going through through tribunals - are supported by just 29% of the members balloted. RMT leader Bob Crow tried to claim this was a 'massive vote for action'. It is not.

Current strike laws mean that a small minority can hold a city of hard-working workers to ransom.

The Mayor, who secured and is now driving through the biggest investment in the Tube in its 148-year history to improve reliability, has again called on the Government to look at changing the country's strike laws.

He is proposing that a strike should only be allowed to go ahead if at least 50% of all workers balloted take part in the vote.

Today the Mayor was joined by business leader Baroness Valentine, chief executive of London First, who said (£): "Now is the time for Government to step in and change the law to stop unnecessary strike action."

The Daily Telegraph joined the call. It said: "These strikes expose the inadequacy of labour laws that allow strikes to be triggered by a very small number of politically motivated activists. That is unacceptable in a sophisticated modern economy."

On introducing a 50% threshold for strikes, which it calls a "fair and reasonable proposal", the Telegraph adds: "It would not only drag labour law into the 21st century, but would also be immensely popular with the public."


UPDATE - Speaking in Parliament earlier today, Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond condemned as "highly irresponsible" the RMT's planned strikes.

UPDATE 2 - The Confederation of British Industry (CBI)'s employers’ group has joined the call and urged the coalition to act “sooner rather than later” to impose a ballot threshold for strikes.


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