STRIKE BALLOT REFORMS
The recent High Court decisions preventing industrial action by amongst others, Unite and RMT members, have caused consternation in the trade union movement. Employers were easily able to exploit minor balloting irregularities to win injunctions. This has led to renewed calls for the reform of the law governing strikes. Although the last Labour government did introduce some amendments to the Trade Union and Labour Relations Consolidation Act 1992 (TULRCA) through the Employment Relations Act 1999, they were to little effect. In particular, the allowance given for small and accidental failures in the balloting process under section 232B has proved only to be of limited use as a defence against employers. In an attempt to stop bosses using technicalities to block action, John McDonnell, the Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, is sponsoring a bill designed to reinforce and extend the exemption for small and accidental failures. Under the Lawful Industrial Action (Minor Errors) Bill, which had its first reading on 30 June and will have its second on22 October, section 232B TULRCA is to be strengthened. However, agitation for change is not just in favour of liberalising the law. Anticipating popular resistance to their impending savage spending cuts, the coalition government is considering tightening the law, for example, by introducing a requirement for 4O% of eligible voters to participate in ballots.
AUGUST 2OlO LABOUR RESEARCH