New rules aimed at ending strikes for good


Network Rail has announced a 24hour strike from 5pm on bank holiday Monday following unresolved disputes over worker pay. The strike is the first real train strike in 20 years and will see signallers, station workers and maintenance staff walk out during a busy period for all rail users.

Going forward, however, it is expected that strikes like these will become less commonplace after the Conservative’s new Business Secretary called for significant changes to strike laws to take affect soon.

The new strike rules include:

  • Strikes affecting public services will require a backing of 40% of eligible union members. Currently a strike is valid if backed by a majority of those balloted.
  • The need for a minimum 50% turnout in strike ballots
  • Restrictions will be lifted to allow agency workers replace striking workers

Unions have reacted to the new proposals with scorn, arguing that it makes strikes virtually impossible to secure and thereby puts all workers in extremely vulnerable positions and at the mercy of their employers, at a time when they are already weakened by the rise of zero-hours contracts, pay freezes and temporary contracts. On the other side of the fence, employers have welcomed the Conservative’s new stance of strike action, claiming it remove unnecessary disruption from business development and employee management.

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