John McDonnell MP Attacks Anti-Union Employers

From RMT General Secretary Bob Crow.

The Convenor of the RMT Parliamentary Group John McDonnell MP, has been drawn first in the Private Members' Bill Ballot of MPs and after consultation with the trade union movement, he is sponsoring the Lawful Industrial Action (Minor Errors) Bill. This will tackle the increasing employer practice of using minor technical errors in the balloting process - which have no material effect on the outcome - to take unions to court in order to prevent them from taking industrial action.

RMT has been hauled through the courts on the most spurious of grounds by employers trying to sabotage democratic votes by our members whose only crime has been to fight for their jobs and safe working conditions. We have seen the arsenal of legal measures ranged up against us by the employers increase in recent months as the bosses’ lawyers have homed in on the most ludicrous of technicalities to try and outlaw the right to strike by the back door.

If adopted, John’s Bill would significantly improve unions’ ability to defend their members and would be the first step towards the full restoration of trade union rights. The trade union movement is uniting behind John and his Bill is back by the Trade Union Co-ordinating Group of BFAWU, FBU, NAPO, NUJ, PCS, POA, RMT and URTU

It is essential that trade unionists do everything they can to lobby their MPs to get behind John McDonnell MP. Ask your MP to be present in Parliament on 22nd October to support John in the House of Commons for the second reading of his Bill. If you’re not sure who your MP is, you can check by entering your postal code at the following website:

The Bill has been co-signed by Kate Hoey MP, Tony Lloyd MP, Dave Anderson MP, Michael Connarty MP, Austin Mitchell MP, Frank Doran MP, Kelvin Hopkins MP, Jim Sheridan MP, David Crausby MP, Ian Lavery MP and John Cryer MP.

There will be a mass rally and lobby of parliament on the 13th October 2010.

John McDonnell MP said:

“Employers have been able to exploit a loophole in the existing law by using minor technical errors in a trade union ballot for industrial action to frustrate the democratic decisions of trade unionists who wish to take action.

“Even where there have been overwhelming majorities in ballots in favour of strike action, minor technicalities which would have no material effect on the outcome of the ballot, are being exploited by employers. The courts are being dragged into disputes and used as weapons in the hands of bullying employers. This cannot be right and in the interests of good industrial relations needs to be addressed.”

Let’s do everything we possibly can to get behind John McDonnell’s Bill. Please lobby your MP now.