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
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