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Socialist Worker

Trade unions must take action to defend the right to strike


The bosses and media’s accusation of RMT “ballot rigging” is a disgraceful slur.

The bosses do the real rigging, using the courts to stop strikes.

Trade unionists hoped that Thatcher’s anti-union laws, introduced in the 1980s, would be scrapped when Labour came to power. But they have not been.

The law imposes the need to ballot for strikes and to give seven days notice of ballots and strike dates.

When bosses shut a factory or sack hundreds of workers they don’t consult anyone, let alone hold a vote—but when workers want to strike they face a wall of legislation.

The laws also make it easier for bosses to organise scab operations, like we’ve seen at British Airways.

The law allows bosses to overturn the democratic decisions of thousands of workers.

It is an assault on workers’ fundamental right to withdraw their labour—and should be an issue for the entire union movement.

The only way to beat the law is for a union to refuse to back down, and strike in defiance of any judgement.

We saw how successful “unofficial” strikes can be when Shell tanker drivers and Lindsey Oil construction workers walked out.

The whole union movement must rally behind the RMT signal and maintenance workers and their right to strike.

With the onslaught of cuts on the agenda, whoever wins the election, now is the time to fight.


Article information

News
Tue 6 Apr 2010, 18:32 BST
Issue No. 2196
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