UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Tebbit resurfaces to attack collective union rights

The Tory world view regards collectivism as a threat to civil liberties. This explains their fundamental opposition to trade unions. In 1975 Tory MP Norman Tebbit accused the Labour employment minister Michael Foot of 'pure undiluted fascism' for upholding the primacy of collective agreements in a unionised workplace. Tebbit went on to become an arch ally of Margaret Thatcher in rolling back union rights.
   As Tory employment minister he introduced the landmark Employment Act 1982 in order to, in his words, 'redress the imbalance of bargaining power' by narrowing the definition of a legal strike and outlawing solidarity action. Now Tebbit has surfaced to invoke his 1982 legislation as a smarter way than ballot thresholds to 'restrain the extremists of the union movement' and proposes that union immunity from civil action for damages arising from a strike be conditional on 'a minimum percentage of the relevant workforce and possibly a minimum turnout' rather than an outright ban on strikes not meeting those requirements: