I appeared on a BBC radio programme this morning discussing the CBI proposals to tighten the laws on strike action. In essence they want to place additional requirements on unions to make industrial action almost impossible.
I pointed out that we already have the tightest restrictions on strike action in the advanced world. This is simply a cynical attempt by the CBI to undermine a fundamental human right.
The proposals do nothing to improve industrial relations. No recognition that poor management cause disputes. Nothing about strengthening ACAS and the conciliation machinery. In fact they even want to reduce the consultation period for redundancy, giving even less time for negotiation.
In my long experience of negotiations and dispute resolution I have never known members to vote for strike action except as a last resort. Strikes are so rare that most union members have never been on strike. But without this sanction the bosses who run the CBI would have unfettered power to trample on the workforce.
These proposals are designed to address any strikes that might be driven by cuts in public services. The irony of course is that the cause of these cuts is the corporate greed of the big businesses that run the CBI. An organisation that is still in favour of the very light touch regulation that got us into this mess.
As the CBI refused to put anyone up to defend their proposals it was left to the Adam Smith Institute to argue their case. I was asked if I would take some advice from them. From the organisation that brought us the Poll Tax - I think not! The Institute's President once said "We propose things which people regard as on the edge of lunacy." Well this is another proposal that meets that criteria very well.