Yesterday evening I was invited by Sky to discuss the current wave of strikes in baggage handling, aviation, on the railways and at the Post Office. I naturally urged management and employees to sit down to sort it out. People do not want their Christmas arrangements messed up by strikes. It shows a singular lack of seasonal goodwill that so many groups of workers want to take it out on their customers at this time of year.
Some say the transport strikes should be made more difficult by legislation. This government has recently changed the law in the Trade Union Act 2016. This now requires half of those eligible to vote to vote in a valid strike ballot, and for 40% of those eligible to vote for strike action, as well as a majority of those voting. It also requires the Union to hold the strike within six months of the mandate, and to seek renewal of the mandate if the strike drags on. The strike ballot has to provide a clear statement of what is at issue in the dispute. Do you think this is fair? Does it go far enough in seeking to ensure that there is proper support for a strike and that the workforce does know what is at stake?
The Southern Rail dispute has become embroiled in politics, with a Union leader saying he wants to use the strike to undermine capitalism and the Conservative government. It is a strange dispute, as the employees are being guaranteed jobs at no less pay from the changes the management wish to make. The Union accepts driver operated doors on trains on other routes, but will not accept them on Southern routes.
Who do you blame for the dispute? What if anything should the government do to make settlement more likely?