13/07/2014 - 50% threshold for strikes "hypocritical" says Solidarity

parliamentSolidarity Trade Union, amongst many other unions, has condemned plans by David Cameron to impose thresholds for strike ballots.

The Prime Minister dismissed the big strike by public sector workers, saying there was no mandate for action because fewer than 50% of members voted.

Research by the Unite union shows how hypocritical that comment is. Not a single Tory cabinet member achieved the 50% voting threshold they claim gives you a mandate! Yet they wish to impose this on workers taking industrial action.

Unite analysed the 2010 general election results, finding that when total potential turnout is included not a single Tory MP won 50 per cent.

Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, said: “It is utter hypocrisy for the government to talk about mandates for trade unions when not a single member of the present cabinet would have been elected using the same criteria.

“The fact is not a single councillor in England has won 50 per cent of the electorate, not a single MEP has reached the 50 per cent threshold, Boris Johnson scraped in with just 37 per cent in 2008 and the government’s flagship Police Crime Commissioner election gained a risible 17 per cent of the vote.

“This government has no mandate to attack trade unions or the workers who have been forced to take industrial action today in their fight to end poverty pay.”

The study shows that the cabinet member with the lowest percentage of the vote was David Jones, the Welsh secretary who secured the support of just 27 percent of the electorate in his seat of Clwyd West in 2010.

Not far behind comes the recently appointed secretary of state for Culture Sajid Javid who came to office with the support of only 30.8 per cent of the electorate in his constituency of Bromsgrove in 2010.

The member of the cabinet who comes closest to winning a 50 per cent mandate is home secretary Theresa May in her constituency of Maidenhead, although even she falls short of by seven per cent.

Those MPs who have been most rabid in their attacks on workers taking action, achieved the worst results. Union bashing Priti Patel managed to win the support of just over a third (36.6 per cent) of the electorate in Witham, while the architect of the Conservative party’s manifesto Oliver Letwin gained the support of just 35.5 per cent of the electorate in Dorset. Cabinet office minister Francis Maude gained just 38 per cent.

Len McCluskey of Unite commented: “Britain’s anti-trade union laws are already amongst the most restrictive in Europe. Tory attempts to further curtail the rights of working people to democratically organise risks placing Cameron’s Britain alongside nations like Kazakhstan, Albania and Niger where the right for public servants to take action is forbidden.”

ballot, Frances O'Grady, July 10, Len McCluskey, Strike, Unite - See more at:
ballot, Frances O'Grady, July 10, Len McCluskey, Strike, Unite - See more at: