CBI unveils package of measures to avoid strikes
 
Tue, 5th October 2010
 
 

CBI unveils package of measures to avoid strikes

Tuesday October 5th 2010

The CBI is today calling for changes in the law to raise the threshold for industrial action, and to ensure that if strikes occur disruption is minimised.

In a new report, Keeping the wheels turning: modernising the legal framework of industrial relations, the UK's leading business group outlines a package of measures to modernise employment relations legislation and keep the recovery on track.

Although most workplace disputes are resolved through negotiation, industrial action across the public sector could increase as the Government takes the necessary steps to reduce the deficit.

John Cridland, CBI Deputy Director-General, said, ""Industrial action is never inevitable, and in most cases common sense prevails and negotiation wins the day.

"We want to see public sector managers and unions going the extra mile during the difficult times ahead and working together constructively to avoid damaging industrial action.

"Our proposals suggest improvements to employment law that will help ensure that strikes remain a last resort."

The CBI believes the law needs updating to reflect the fact that 85% of private sector employees are not members of a union, and that most employers engage directly with staff or their representatives to bring about changes in the workplace.

As strike action has become increasingly rare, public attitudes towards unwelcome disruption have hardened and there is now a legitimate expectation that services will continue even if there are industrial disputes.

In its report, the CBI reiterates its call for the threshold for industrial action to be raised so that strikes can only go ahead if 40% of balloted members vote in favour of action, as well as a majority of those voting. Currently strikes can go ahead provided a majority of those voting support it, irrespective of the turnout.

It argues that in the event of a strike going ahead, businesses must be able to continue to deliver the services that the public and customers expect. To allow firms to keep trading through strikes, the CBI is calling for companies to be able to recruit agency staff to provide essential cover for striking workers. As the law stands now, firms can recruit temps directly, but not via an agency.

Other proposals focus on making sure unions keep up-to-date membership records and strengthen the enforcement of the law to prevent illegal wildcat strikes.

Union members need to understand the implications of striking for them personally. Ballot papers should include a notice warning that pay and non-contractual benefits can be withdrawn if an employee goes on strike.


 
 
category Retail  |  source The Retail Bulletin
 
   
 
 
 
 
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