Monday, June 21, 2010

CBI: One Rule for the Bosses, Another for Workers

The CBI is proposing measures to make it even harder to strike.

In particular, the bosses' club wants "rules on strike action to be changed to ensure that industrial action has the support of 40% of the balloted workforce, in addition to a majority of votes cast."

The CBI is asking the Tory-led government to legislate for this, conveniently ignoring the fact that if such a rule applied in General Elections, they would not even be the government. In fact, I'm pretty sure that no government would ever have become the goverment under such rules.

But we wouldn't expect bosses to be champions of democracy, given that they didn't get their own jobs and don't pursue their own policies, through a democratic process. How about we introduce a new rule that companies can not cut jobs without balloting the workforce first, and achieving both a majority of votes cast and 40% of the total balloted workforce. Fair's fair, huh?

The CBI also wants the consultation period on redundancies cut from 90 to 30 days. So workers would get one month, rather than three, to argue for alternatives to redundancy - and to look for an alternative job. This move would self-evidently increase unemployment, and therefore the demands on state spending, just at the time when everyone says that they want to cut these things.

This isn't about democracy at all. It is about tying up trade unions in even tighter chains than those that tie them already. It's high time for those union to go beyond sad speeches about how terrible the anti-union laws and start some sustained and effective action to get them repealed.

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