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Tougher laws required for industrial action

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by Kay Mitchell

Employers’ group, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), is calling on the Government to tighten laws to make it harder for workers to take strike action.

Furthermore, Mayor of London Boris Johnson, is also calling for a reform of the law, suggesting the Government introduce legislation preventing action unless at least half of union members in a workplace participate in a ballot.

The calls come at a time when a day-long strike is taking place on the London Underground, causing chaos for commuters.

The strike, which is in force until 7 o’clock tonight, has closed three tube lines, as well as disruption to the other eight lines.

To assist commuters, Transport for London has provided 100 extra buses and increased capacity.

The calls to change the law come as industrial action is looming following the Government’s tough austerity measures.

At last month’s annual Trades Union Congress (TUC) meeting, union leaders urged delegates to “stand up and fight” against the massive spending cuts.

The motion was supported by an overwhelming majority of delegates and the TUC has said strikes were “inevitable” unless the Government is prepared to change direction.

Support was received from three of Britain’s biggest unions – Unite, UNISON and the GMB. Together these unions represent approximately 4 million workers.

Furthermore, British Airways cabin crew have been on strike for 22 days this year, causing travel chaos for passengers. Further strikes are expected unless the long-running dispute reaches a satisfactory outcome.

Meanwhile, commenting on today‘s announcement, John Cridland, CBI’s deputy director-general, said: “Strikes should always be the last resort.”

He is urging public-sector managers and unions to “go the extra mile” during the difficulties ahead.

Finally, the CBI is also requesting that the notice period for industrial action be increased from 7 to 14 days, in order to give businesses more time to prepare for strikes.

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News posted: October 4, 2010

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