TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady launched a scathing attack on Tory plans to “ban strikes by the back door” yesterday.
The TUC leader warned that a Conservative victory in 2015 would see proposals to shackle trade unions forced into law.
“They are not just an attack on fundamental liberties,” she said.
“They will act to lower living standards for the majority of working people — whether or not they are union members.”
Draconian Tory plans include introducing a mandatory 50 per cent turnout in strike ballots — “a threshold no other ballot in Britain is required to meet,” Ms O’ Grady pointed out — while making “illegal” picketing a criminal offence.
She slammed “anti-democratic” rules that would mean a 100 per cent vote for industrial action on a 49 per cent turnout would be invalid — meaning abstentions would be more powerful than votes against action.
And she warned a mass of new regulations on how ballots were conducted would give employers “many new ways of frustrating the democratic will of union members.”
Ms O’Grady said if the Conservatives were serious about increasing participation “they would talk to the TUC about our proposals for electronic ballots.”
Instead they sought to criminalise strike action and even bring in rules that could see strikers manning a picket line prosecuted if they number more than six.
A Labour victory was essential to head off the “fundamental threat to our liberties,” she said — but warned that an incoming Tory regime would face “significant” resistance from trade unions if it did not give up on its assault on trade unions.