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Latest News - March 2015

March 24, 2015
Unite prepared to carry out illegal strikes if Tories win election
By: Steven Swinford

Unite, one of Britain's biggest unions, has said that it is prepared to carry out illegal strikes if the Conservatives win the General Election.

Len McCluskey, the Unite General Secretary, said that he is so concerned that a majority Tory government will bring in anti-strike legislation that the union is prepared to remove the words "so far as may be lawful" from its rule book.

The Conservatives provoked a major row with the trade unions over sweeping plans to ban them from taking strike action without the support of at least 40 per cent of their members.

Mr McCluskey said: "This proposed change in the constitution of the biggest union on these isles marks the sorry place we have reached in our national democracy.

"These words will go not because we are anarchists, not because we are suddenly planning a bank robbery - but because we have to ask ourselves the question, can we any longer make that commitment to, under any and all circumstances, stick within the law as it stands?

"Unite remains determined to operate ever more effectively within the law, even when that law is an ass and ill-serves our people. But restricting the right to strike, attacking the capacity for trade unions to organise and conduct our own business in line with our own rules, belong to last century's consensus. They fail working people today," he said.  Thirty years after the miners' strike trade unions are annoying but not scary

Mr McCluskey said trade union law had remained untouched, adding that the Tories will make it harder to strike if they gain power by raising the threshold on ballots.  "It is no exaggeration to say that the right to strike in this - the first country of frees trade unionism - was and is hanging by a thread.

"But should there be a Conservative majority in May, there will be a new attack on trade union rights and democracy.

"The bar for a strike ballot will be raised to a level which hardly any MPs would get over in their own constituencies, by a government which has refused our requests to use modern, more effective balloting methods.

"When the law is misguided, when it oppresses the people and removes their freedoms, can we respect it? I am not really posing the question. I'm giving you the answer. It ain't going to happen."

Unite activists will decide on the change of wording to the union's rules at a conference later in the year.

Unite union threatens illegal strikes and unlawful chaos if Tories are elected as it drops pledge to obey the law



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