This week I’ve been reading some interesting blog posts about Boris Johnson’s ideas on strike ballots – for example requiring a 50% turnout (thanks @FlipChartRick and @DazNewman inter alia for alerting me to the  story) – which have got me thinking. The basic tenor of the criticisms has been that there is absolutely need for such reforms. It’s pretty hard to comply with the rules to call a lawful strike. There are rules to prevent intimidatory picketing. There is nothing to compel employees to strike if they don’t want to, even if they are union members, and unions cannot discipline members for not striking.It’s easy for employees to opt out of paying union dues and the closed shop is a thing of the past. All of those were covered the legal changes  in the 1980’s.

So why is Boris taking such a hard line? Maybe because by generally making it hard for sacked workers to make claims – by measures like introducing fees for employment tribunals, cutting back awards, and increasing qualifying periods the government are doing everything they can to help the unions’ to recruit members and regain power and/or  influence. At the moment most employees see no need to join a union. This may change when they see their individual rights eroded. Just a thought.

What experience and history teach is this – that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it” – Hegel