David Cameron announced yesterday that his party will take tough action on strikes if he is re-elected in 2015, as schools across the country prepare to walk out today.
During Prime Minister’s Question time in the House of Commons yesterday, Cameron condemned the union walkout which will affect thousands of children, telling MPs “the time has come” to set thresholds for strike ballots.
“I don’t think these strikes are right,” the Prime Minister said, adding: “I think people should turn up for work. I think the time has come for looking at setting thresholds in strike ballots... The [NUT] strike ballot took place in 2012, based on a 27 per cent turnout.
“How can it possibly be right for our children’s education to be disrupted by trade unions acting in that way? It is time to legislate and it will be in the Conservative manifesto,” he added.
The measures in the party’s manifesto are expected to include plans to set a threshold of members voting for a strike, which must be met before action can take place.
The Conservatives are also said to be considering strike bans for essential services, which could include the London underground, and a time limit after which strike ballots could not be translated into walk-outs.
Cameron has been prevented from taking the proposal forward in government due to opposition from the Liberal Democrats, a spokesman for the Prime Minister confirmed yesterday.
Labour stopped short of condemning the strike action planned for today, instead calling for all sides of the debate to get around the table and talk.
“We don’t want to see strikes happening, but the best way to stop them happening is for the Government to avoid ramping up the rhetoric,” a Labour spokesman added.
Teachers around the country are walking out today to protest at performance-related pay and pension cuts. Unions are also speaking out against secretary of state Michael Gove’s education reforms.