Tory manifesto proposals to impose a minimum turnout (50%) and a minimum threshold of support (40% of all those balloted) will make it impossible for unions to conduct ‘lawful’ industrial action in large public service bargaining groups. Put simply, on a 50% turnout an 80% yes vote will be required otherwise the ballot will be legally invalid. An acceptable response to this attack on union rights has now gone well beyond the development of positive policies (such as on line voting and workplace ballots) and requires a sustained political campaign exposing the proposed measures as a severe attack on our democratic and human rights. It requires unions to urgently develop new strategies to challenge these attacks on our right to defend our jobs, pay and conditions.
It is perverse that the political elite can accept as valid opinion polls based on a fraction of 1% of the electorate yet deem turnouts of say 40% as unrepresentative of a large workforce. Taken together with the imposition of expensive fees to access Employment Tribunals, attacks on time off for union reps, removal of DOCAS etc, it is clear that the Tories are working towards an end game of destroying trade unionism in Britain's public services.
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