Threat of more anti-unions laws – affiliate to Campaign for Trade Union Freedom

Head Office Circular No. NP/078/15/MC

To the Secretary all Branches,
Council of Executive members,
Regional Councils and Regional Offices

Wednesday 29th April 2015

Dear Colleagues,

Threat of more anti-unions laws – affiliate to Campaign for Trade Union Freedom

Following the general election, the prospect of even greater restrictions on the freedom of trade unions may be realised. For example, the Conservative Party manifesto proposes increasing anti-union legislation across the board but especially in a number of industries including transport. Their manifesto states:

“Strikes should only ever be the result of a clear, positive decision based on a ballot in which at least half the workforce has voted. This turnout threshold will be an important and fair step to rebalance the interests of employers, employees, the public and the rights of trade unions. We will, in addition, tackle the disproportionate impact of strikes in essential public services by introducing a tougher threshold in health, education, fire and transport. Industrial action in these essential services would require the support of at least 40 per cent of all those entitled to take part in strike ballots – as well as a majority of those who actually turn out to vote. We will also repeal nonsensical restrictions banning employers from hiring agency staff to provide essential cover during strikes; and ensure strikes cannot be called on the basis of ballots conducted years before. We will tackle intimidation of non-striking workers; legislate to ensure trade unions use a transparent opt-in process for union subscriptions; tighten the rules around taxpayer-funded paid ‘facility time’ for union representatives; and reform the role of the Certification Officer”.

If implemented this proposal would mean that in transport, if RMT balloted 10,000 members for strike action we would be required by law for 5,000 of members balloted to cast their vote and for 4,000 of those to vote in favour of action for the ballot to be valid. This would mean an 80% Yes vote would be required on a 50% turnout in every ballot.

Whatever the outcome of the election we will continue to fight against any attacks on trade union rights and to campaign for new freedoms. RMT is affiliated to the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom. If your branch or regional council is not yet affiliated I strongly encourage you to do so. Please visit

Yours sincerely,
Mick Cash
General Secretary