Friday, November 05, 2010

One strike and you're in

With the BBC affected today, the London tube network being in an almost perpetual state of disruption and the London fire brigade choosing their busiest day of the year to walk out, the issue of strikes is high on the agenda and David Davis has weighed in with his two penneth worth over on the Daily Mail.

Davis seems to favour the idea of banning certain "key workers" from the right to strike on one hand while saying he supports the "right to strike" on the other - which strikes me as slightly contradictory. For a start, it depends on how you classify a "key worker". No offence Londoners, but tube train drivers are not key to the vast majority of British people - they are no more "key" than, say, the bus driver in a remote rural village.

Davis also wants "pendulum arbitration" - a system whereby the arbitrator, rather than splitting the difference between demands of employer and unions, picks the demand he considers most reasonable. Not a bad idea in principle - at least it would prevent either side from making outrageous demands - but it remains rather arbitrary as arbitration goes.

If the government do want to do something about disruptive strikes such as these one or two day strikes then there is one simple piece of legislation they need. One that says once a strike begins then any subsequent return to work by the striking party is an implied acceptance of the terms and conditions on offer and they may not strike again on the same issue.

That would put an end to these deliberately disruptive one/two day strikes spread over weeks that cause maximum disruption and inconvenience to the public with the least amount of inconvenience to the strikers and employers.

1 comment:

JuliaM said...

I like the sound of that!