Vince Cable talks of tougher laws for strike action


Business Secretary Vince Cable is to address delegates at the annual conference of the GMB union today and is expected to warn them that co-ordinated strike action may lead to tighter union laws.

The warning comes after union leaders said strike action could take place at the end of this month as 750,000 teachers, civil servants and other public sector workers protest against the Government spending cuts.

However, Mr Cable is expected to say that there is not a “compelling” case for changing the strike law.

Addressing delegates in Brighton later today, the Business Secretary is expected to say: “We are undoubtedly entering a difficult period. Cool heads will be required all round. Despite occasional blips, I know that strike levels remain historically low, especially in the private sector.

“On that basis, and assuming this pattern continues, the case for changing strike law is not compelling.”

The warning comes after Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and employers’ organisation, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), called on the Government last autumn to tighten laws to make it harder for workers to take strike action.

Mr Johnson is 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 CBI, meanwhile, called for a minimum of 40% of union members balloted to be in favour of a strike before it can proceed and 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.

Tags: Boris Johnson, , , public sector workers, , , tougher,

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