Strike ban is an option

August 06, 2010 4:18 PM

I blogged this week about the looming autumn of discontent - the unions’ attempt to stop essential cuts to restore the public finances to health and condemn taxpayers to even more years of debt repayment.

Of course the advice to the government was to be tough with unions and to make it clear that strikes are futile. And we are not the only ones making these kinds of suggestions. Today the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said strikes should be banned if there was an upsurge of industrial unrest.

Mike Emmott, the CIPD's employee relations adviser said the first option is to communicate to public sector employees, through management, the case for change – the real need for spending cuts. If this fails a ban on strikes could be the answer. He said:

“it is also incumbent on the Government to consider the policy options open to it for reducing the risk of disruptive and damaging industrial action by public service employees, such as banning strike action of those involved in the delivery of essential services."

Unfortunately the case for change has been lost on union management with a TUC spokesman saying:

“The Government would do better to invest in jobs and growth than pay attention to the CIPD's unworkable proposals on industrial action law.”


The problem is we have been “investing” in the public sector for over a decade now, well above other countries in the OECD as the following graph illustrates:


OECD graph

Spending cuts are absolutely necessary and banning strikes will be too if they endanger the country’s financial stability and essential services. 

I blogged this week about the looming autumn of discontent - the unions’ attempt to stop essential cuts to restore the public finances to health and condemn taxpayers to even more years of debt repayment.

Of course the advice to the government was to be tough with unions and to make it clear that strikes are futile. And we are not the only ones making these kinds of suggestions. Today the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said strikes should be banned if there was an upsurge of industrial unrest.

Mike Emmott, the CIPD's employee relations adviser said the first option is to communicate to public sector employees, through management, the case for change – the real need for spending cuts. If this fails a ban on strikes could be the answer. He said:

“it is also incumbent on the Government to consider the policy options open to it for reducing the risk of disruptive and damaging industrial action by public service employees, such as banning strike action of those involved in the delivery of essential services."

Unfortunately the case for change has been lost on union management with a TUC spokesman saying:

“The Government would do better to invest in jobs and growth than pay attention to the CIPD's unworkable proposals on industrial action law.”


The problem is we have been “investing” in the public sector for over a decade now, well above other countries in the OECD as the following graph illustrates:


OECD graph

Spending cuts are absolutely necessary and banning strikes will be too if they endanger the country’s financial stability and essential services. 

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