Union welcomes strike thresholds but questions Government's motives
Reacting to today’s publication of the Trade Union Bill, professionals union Prospect has insisted that it always seeks the strongest possible mandate for strike action, and that walkouts are a last resort.
The union, which represents scientists, engineers, managers and other specialists in over 300 private and public sector organisations, has also suggested that the new measures are politically motivated.
The rules state that at least 50% of the relevant branch membership must take part in a ballot for a strike to go ahead – a threshold that Prospect has met on nine of the last 11 occasions.
Prospect general secretary Mike Clancy said: “It is clear the new thresholds are not motivated by democratic or any other principles. Nevertheless we welcome the challenge and pledge to work hard to meet it.
“Our approach is always to work constructively with employers wherever possible to best meet the needs of our members. Prospect strike action is a rare occurrence, and it cannot be emphasised often enough that it is an action we take only when all other options have been exhausted.
“Having the strongest possible mandate is important for commanding confidence in our negotiating strategy not just from the employer and members, but also from the wider public.”
However, the union remains concerned about three other areas of the bill, including plans for a proposed joint levy of unions and employers to fund new powers for Certification Officers, which Prospect says will be an additional administrative and financial burden.
The organisation has also criticised a further squeeze on facility time, describing it as the lifeblood of the unions day-to-day work.
It considers this especially surprising given that Francis Maude earlier this year told the Commons: “Facility time in the civil service is now rigorously monitored and reported.”
Plans to repeal of a ban on the use of agency workers is also under fire from Prospect who see it as an unnecessary attack on the right to strike, given the new thresholds.
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