Date: Wed, 22 Jan 97 00:28:22 CST
From: rich@pencil (Rich Winkel)
/** 436.0 **/
** Written 10:42 AM Jan 19, 1997 by in **
From: (Simon Bolton)

Outlawing Strikes

By Industrial Layabout, Freedom, 11 January 1997

A new commissioner for protection against unlawful industrial action will be introduced if proposals on a draft Government Green Paper get on the statute book. One of the Green Paper's proposals is that the calling of a strike with ‘disproportionate or excessive’ effects would be unlawful and any employer of other business affected could seek an injunction against a union.

The draft paper says these effects might be defined as involving one or a combination of:

A court, the paper says, should take account of the intensity, frequency and duration of the industrial action and of the damage and disruption. The draft document claims that it would be clear in most circumstances whether or not the effects of industrial action was likely to be disproportionate or excessive.

The paper insists existing industrial relations law is generally working well with postal ballots before strikes having stopped manipulation and intimidations in industrial decisions.

Nevertheless, it says, strikes still have the potential to prevent people going about their normal activities, to disrupt business, to harm the economy and even to threaten life and property. This has been demonstrated recently by strikes affecting fire services, public transport and the postal service.

Given the legal minefield this suggested legislation opens up with its delicate definitions such as ‘significant disruption of everyday life’, 'normal activities', ‘disproportionate or excessive’ effects, this could be the Tory government's revenge of the judges as much as the unions. The Financial Times correspondent, Andrew Bolger, says judges will have their work cut out if the government's proposals to restrict further the ability of trade unions to call strikes ever reach the statute book.

Certainly the government and the judges have not been hitting it off for some time, and this kind of law can lead to the judges being targeted by the radical left.