The new Tory government did not waste any time in introducing plans for new anti-democratic legislation aimed at undermining the right by workers to take industrial action. They will enact legislation that will require a threshold of a 50% turnout and be backed by at least 40% of those eligible to vote.
This would have the consequence of making “legal” strikes virtually impossible. For example the Royal College of Midwives ballot on action over pay was 82%-18% in favour of strike action on a 49% turnout, which would be illegal under the new rules. But if 1000 more RCM members had voted AGAINST strike action, then this would have taken the figure over the 50% threshold and so would have passed the test – absurd or what?
However the new rules will not apply to everyone. Consider the following;
- 274 Tory MPs failed to win 40% of their electorates in the recent election,
- Boris Johnson failed to win 40% of support in his London Mayoral election,
- Sajid Javid, the minister responsible for this legislation, only achieved 36% of eligible votes in his Bromsgrove constituency,
- Winston Churchill failed to achieve 40% and as a result he would not have been the wartime Prime Minister,
- Half of the Cabinet would not have been elected as they failed the 40% threshold,
- The Tory party as a whole secured less than 37% of the vote and only 24% of the whole electorate.
As trade unionists we need to resist and ignore the anti-democratic legislation. The battles of yesteryear were won not because the law was on the workers side, but despite of it.
The law is an ass and so it needs to be firmly kicked in it.