As Unite members who are airport baggage handlers, check-in staff and cargo crew at Swissport and BA mixed fleet cabin crew join workers at Southern Rail, Crown Post Offices, Royal Mail’s Accrington Delivery Office and Weetabix in potential strike action over Christmas, while our own action at Fujitsu continues, backbench Tories are baying for ever greater restrictions on workers’ rights.
The United Kingdom has some of the worst anti-union laws in Europe, put in place by Tory governments and left in place by New Labour. While employers have the flexibility to make changes quickly, workers face innumerable obstacles if they want to resist.
If workers want to strike, complex notification rules create delays and opportunities for injunctions. The delays really matter, as many “perishable” issues become fait accompli before workers can legally take any action. In England, Scotland and Wales employers can push through even the biggest redundancies in just 45 days. Today my own employer, Fujitsu, informed reps that it proposes to make the first of its 1800 UK job cuts on 17th February in parts of the company where workers don’t yet have union recognition.