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Democracy, cuts and the anti union laws

The government, backed up by howls of anger by those on the right, are threatening to strengthen the anti union laws, warns Jeremy Dewar

TORY GRANDEE Francis Maude claims Unison’s 78% YES vote “shows there is extremely limited support for the kind of strike action their union leaders want,” basing his argument on the 29% turnout. Director of NHS Employers Dean Royles also chipped in, “the majority of staff did not vote”.
A vocal band of Tories and bosses are calling for strike ballots to be invalid unless over half of all eligible members vote YES.
It’s a shame Maude and his cronies don’t apply the same concern for democracy and mandates when it comes to forming a government. The Conservatives gained just 36% of the vote in 2010 on a 65% turnout: in other words, 23.4% of those eligible to vote, compared with the 22.6% of Unison members who voted YES.
But Cameron showed no hesitation in accepting his right to rule, albeit in coalition with the right wing of the Lib Dems. The bosses’ unions, the CBI and IoD, now so vocal in defence of the “silent majority”, did not dissent either.
At least Unison asked an honest question: “Are you prepared to take strike action on and after 30 November in defence of your pension?” The Tories and Liberals denied point blank that they were going to tear up our pensions, demolish the welfare state and privatise our schools and the NHS.

But, with or without new legislation, the bosses and the courts will always try and outlaw effective strike action. For all their words about the “free market” and “non-interference”, the capitalist state has always supported the employers.
The union leaders’ strategy of complying with these undemocratic laws has merely encouraged the bosses to use them and the Tories to add to them. But whenever workers have defied them – as they did in 1972 – the capitalist state has had to retreat.
In fact workers often carry out actions that are prohibited by the anti union laws, including secondary picketing, and are rarely prosecuted for it. Yet the union leaders always use the threat of these laws to prevent radical action. In fact for the union leaders the anti-union laws are perfect, it means they don’t have to launch strikes and campaigns which can actually win, they just hide behind the Tory legislation.
That’s why we say, defy the anti-union laws and drive them off the statute books!

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