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Issue #1648      July 23, 2014

Strikes will be “near-impossible”

BRITAIN: A Tory strike ban pledge unveiled as the Toldpuddle Martyr’s festival began last week “will make legal strikes close to impossible,” TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said. Ms O’Grady said that conservative plans for a strike vote turnout threshold of 50 percent would “fundamentally shift the balance of power” behind bosses and see pay slump – even for people who have never been in a union.

And she hit back at other measures revealed in the new Tory manifesto, which was published even as thousands gathered to remember one of Britain’s most historic battles for union rights at Tolpuddle in Dorset.

Unions will be forced to carry out complicated strike ballots that require members to vote on minute details of disputes under the Tory proposals.

Bosses must be given 14 days’ notice of a strike rather than the current seven and mandates will be limited to three months.

And even if unions meet the threshold, members could face criminal charges if they break strict new picketing rules. Tolpuddle celebrates six farm workers who were transported to Australia for the crime of forming a union to boost their pay, which was the equivalent of 30p a week in today’s money.

“Today Conservative politicians are threatening to change the law on ballots to stop workers from taking strike action against low pay,” said Ms O’Grady.

Morning Star

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