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Government will ‘not budge’ on public sector pay – Maude

The government will ‘not budge’ on changes to pay and pensions for public sector workers, and new laws could be proposed to curb industrial action in the future, Francis Maude has stated. 

Ahead of this week’s public sector strikes on 10 July, which include council staff, teachers, firefighters and civil servants, the Cabinet Office minister recommended withdrawing legal protections for striking workers unless at least 50% of a union’s members had voted for the strike. 

It is the biggest one-day public sector strike since 2010. 

Speaking to the BBC, Maude said: “This strike action has been called on about as weak a mandate as you can possibly have…We want to look at whether there should be a minimum turnout threshold.” 

Under today's law, a strike can go ahead if it is backed by a simple majority of those balloted. However, it has been suggested that few ballots achieve the support of more than 50% of the entire workforce. For instance, with regards to this week’s strike action, the National Union of Teachers (NUT) stated that it received approximately 80% support for the strike in a ballot, but only 27% of members took part. 

Maude criticised unions for holding strikes based on ballots with low turnout, claiming that one persuaded just 20% of its eligible members to vote. 

However, union leaders say that Thursday’s walkout could be biggest since the General Strike of 1926. In addition to the NUT, unions taking action include the Fire Brigades Union, Unison, Unite, Public and Commercial Services Union, and the GMB. The schools walkout follows a one-day strike in March.

(Image: Crown Copyright) 

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Iain   07/07/2014 at 12:26

Based on Francis Maudes reasoning then this Govt. has no mandate to govern. They were voted for by less than 50% of eligible electorate and as such have "about as weak a mandate as you can possibly have…" and now I along with all other Public Sector workers " want to look at whether there should be a minimum turnout threshold.” for Maude & friends to govern!

Charles   07/07/2014 at 12:31

it seems the obvious resolution is to make voting at all elections and strike ballots mandator under law.

Chris   07/07/2014 at 13:13

I agree with both comments above

Terry   07/07/2014 at 15:47

I thought that good old Dave was blessed with only one Pickles, seems like his crew are all cut from the same cloth. Talk about the Press not wanting the facts to spoil a good story!

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