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Boris Johnson calls for new union laws to stop small minorities triggering strike action

By Tim Montgomerie

Boris Johnson addressed a ConservativeHome rally of 700 activists in Birmingham last night. Paul Goodman reviewed it here.

Screen shot 2010-10-04 at 09.00.51 In today's Telegraph Boris Johnson calls for new union laws that will make it harder for small numbers of union members to initiatet strike action.

Today's strike on London's Tube was authorised by only a small minority of the network's staff. “The government should consider a law insisting on a minimum 50% participation in a strike ballot,” he writes.

The CBI makes a similar although potentially tougher recommendation. It wants a minimum of 40% of union members balloted to be in favour of a strike.

Policy Exchange put forward its own proposals recently to counter union militancy. The Coalition appears very cautious, however. It fears new union laws, introduced at this sensitive time, may only provoke the union movement.

The Mayor of London goes on to argue that members of the Labour Party are using industrial action as a political weapon:

"The tragedy is that there is a growing number of people in the Labour Party – perhaps even Ed Miliband – who believe that they can manipulate industrial unrest to wreak revenge for their electoral defeats. They have an apocalyptic vision of the next two or three years, in which the public sector unions respond to the cuts with wave after wave of debilitating strikes. They see angry shouting Steve Hedley-style pickets at every station, braziers at every street corner, and such general industrial unrest that there is a run on the pound and a broken and dejected Coalition government is obliged to sue for peace and throw its policies into reverse."

I met demonstrators yesterday as they walked through Birmingham. I was taking part in a Radio Five Live feature whereby I listened to the protestors and tried to explain why the Coalition was making the cuts. I was amazed at the number of marchers who thought that the government was ideologically motivated by a desire to cause pain. The nastiness of some of the placards was also disturbing. This iPhone shot of a placard looking forward to the death of Margaret Thatcher was the worst of its kind:



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