4 Mar 2010

Anti-union laws stop Sheffield strike

First Bus drivers in Sheffield have been threatened with the sack after voting for strike action.
Some 740 drivers were threatened with dismissal. In response Unite has called off strike action. Drivers announced on 2 March they were planning two more days of strike action – this Saturday and next Monday – as part of a long-running dispute.
First’s South Yorkshire managing director Bob Hamilton sent a letter to all 740 drivers based at the company’s Olive Grove depot in Heeley warning: “Everyone who participates in the action will be dismissed.” Drivers were told they would have no right of appeal and would lose all pension rights.
First said that though the strike would be lawful, drivers had their jobs protected by law only if they held strikes within 12 weeks of a ballot – but Unite balloted its members more than 12 weeks ago.
Once again bus employers are using the anti-union laws to stop action.
Strikes were called after drivers rejected proposals to resolve disputes over disciplinary procedure and rotas at Olive Grove. Unite members are unhappy over harsh disciplinary procedures.
Management stated “The drivers need a fresh ballot to go on strike with full protection.” How many times can the unions allow the anti-union laws to stop action?
At Christmas a 92 percent vote by British Airways workers was overturned in the courts using the anti-union laws. In October 2008 thousands of London busworkers were prevented from taking strike action on legal technicalities. The list goes on. Some 13 years into a New Labour government why are these laws still in place?

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