Conservatives plan tougher laws to curb public sector strike action

Kasmira Jefford
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CONSERVATIVE ministers are drawing up plans to make it tougher for public sector unions to take industrial action, as more than a million council workers, teachers, civil servants and firefighters prepare to take action this week.

Cabinet office minister Francis Maude yesterday said they were exploring a “minimum turnout threshold”, where only strikes backed by half of a union’s members would be legal.

Under current laws, unions only need to win majority among those who balloted to put on a strike.

Speaking on Sky News’s Murnaghan programme, Maude said: “We should also be looking at whether there should be some rule that a mandate falls after a certain time.

“It can’t be right that the unions can come back year after year based on a mandate that is several years old in order to call strike action that can cause real harm not just to our children but also to hard-working parents.”

The move comes ahead of Thursday’s walkout by up to a million public sector workers, including civil servants in the Public and Commercial Services union, members of the National Union of Teachers, GMB, the Fire Brigades Union, Unison and Unite.

The general secretary of the national trade union the TUC, Frances O’Grady, told the BBC’s Sunday Politics that it “seems like the government isn’t listening” to ordinary people.

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