"Strikes should not be the plaything of union leaders" - says IoD

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9 July 2014

Commenting ahead of tomorrow’s strike by public sector workers, Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:

“It is a matter of profound concern that such a small number of trade unionists can bring about such a disruptive strike. Despite claims from union leaders that the industrial action is widely supported, they have failed to be upfront about turnouts, with reports indicating just one in five members of the PCS voted to strike, one in seven members of Unite and one in ten at Unison. Among teachers, only one in five voted to support the strike. Little wonder, therefore, that former NUT General Secretary, Fred Jarvis, has warned of a hard-left faction taking control at the teachers’ union.

“The time has surely come to look again at strike laws in this country. Nobody wants to undermine the valuable work of trade unions, but a political fringe among the leadership is at risk of doing just that. To counter this growing disconnect between senior trade unionists and their membership, we urge the Government to investigate enforcing a minimum turnout in strike ballots, or a requirement that a majority of members who receive a ballot paper vote in favour before a strike can go ahead.

“Industrial action, with all the disruption and difficulties it brings, should not be the plaything of a politicised minority within the trade union movement.

“Of particular concern is Unite’s renewed interest in their so-called ‘leverage strategy’ – which focuses on intimidation and confrontation. Unite’s material calls on workers to view employers as the enemy who must be defeated. This attitude is beyond archaic, and should be consigned to the dustbin of industrial relations along with flying pickets and the closed shop.”


Contacts for further comments or to arrange interviews:

Christian May
Head of Media Relations

Institute of Directors, 116 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5ED

020 7451 3263

07908 358 728

Edwin Morgan
Deputy Head of Media Relations

Institute of Directors, 116 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5ED

020 7451 3392

07814 386 243

Notes to editors

  • The Institute of Directors (IoD) was founded in 1903 and obtained a Royal Charter in 1906. The IoD is a non-party political organisation with approximately 34,500 members in the United Kingdom and overseas. Membership includes directors from right across the business spectrum – from media to manufacturing, e-business to the public and voluntary sectors. Members include CEOs of large corporations as well as entrepreneurial directors of start-up companies.
  • The IoD provides an effective voice to represent the interests of its members to key opinion-formers at the highest levels. These include Government ministers and their shadows, parliamentary committee members, senior civil servants and think-tanks. IoD policies and views are actively promoted to the national, regional and trade media. Follow us on  to get the IoD’s reaction on business and public policy issues.
  • The IoD offers a wide range of business services which include business centre facilities, with 15 UK centres (including three in London, Reading, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester, Nottingham, Norwich, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast) and one in Paris, conferences, networking events, virtual offices, issues-led guides and literature, as well as free access to business information and advisory services. The IoD places great emphasis on director development and has established a certified qualification for directors – Chartered Director – as well as running specific board and director-level training and individual career mentoring programmes.
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