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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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Government minister threatens strike law changes

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The case for reforming strike laws will become “very pressing” if public sector workers press ahead with industrial action at the end of the month, a Coalition Government Minister has warned.

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude told BBC 1’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday that such legislation was kept “under review”, adding that a mass walk-out during times of economic turmoil would lead to a trade union clampdown.
 
Maude said that employers’ lobby group, the CBI, had made a convincing appeal for requiring a minimum turnout of 40% in order to make strike ballots binding. “No law is set in stone forever, but we think, broadly, the law works pretty well. We keep it under review, but the CBI have made a powerful case for change, others as well,” he added.
 
More than two million workers are now set to walk out on Wednesday 30 November after the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers became the latest to confirm that its members would join the day of action. It is already being supported by Unite, Unison and the GMB along with more than a dozen smaller unions.
 
The news came as Qantas failed to reach a deal with its pilots and ground staff in an ongoing industrial dispute over guarantees to working conditions, wages and job security. This means that they will now have to go to forced arbitration.
 
The Australian airline and two unions, the International Pilots Association, and the Transport Workers Union, were ordered by industrial relations mediator Fair Work Australia to come to an agreement by today. Negotiations with the former union have been taking place for 15 months and with the latter for six months, but the airline grounded its entire fleet and locked staff out last month in a bid to force an end to the strikes.
 
Fair Work Australia ordered Qantas to resume services after 80,000 passengers worldwide were affected by the move and the Australian Government stepped in.
Author Profile Picture
Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett
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