Defending Our Right to Industrial Action

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2011 National Delegate Conference
1 March 2011
Carried as Amended

Conference recognises and applauds the many successful and momentous campaigns of industrial action that trade unions have staged over the last thirty years. Campaigns that have succeeded despite an increasingly severe legal framework intended to stifle the ability of workers to withdraw their labour in support of a legitimate trade dispute.

Conference acknowledges that taking industrial action is a very serious matter for UNISON members. The costs and the risks are high for members both as workers and as providers of care to the vulnerable within our society. Conference has no doubt that our members are the only people qualified to make the decision about when industrial action is appropriate.

Conference therefore condemns those amongst the Conservatives and their cronies who are encouraging the government to tighten the law even further. To dictate a minimum turn out, perhaps as high as 60%, before industrial action could be legal.

Conference notes that if applied to all ballots and elections such a level would see many MP’s and Councillors declared unelected.

Conference believes however that that is only one example of possible threats and believes that the National Executive Council must ensure that:

a) it has expert advice and opinion on Industrial action law and possible hostile amendments,

b) that as a union we work in coalition with IER and other campaigns

c) we have a strategy that examines possible legal remedies using European and human rights legislation ( as RMT and ASLEF have been able to do recently ) in defence of our TU rights

In addition Conference calls upon the UNISON National Executive Council to:

1)support the campaign to repeal restrictive legislation and bring the UK into line with ILO conventions;

2)take all possible steps to raise awareness amongst members of the value of effective industrial action;

3)work with the TUC to develop and mount a broad campaign of resistance to any new restrictive proposals.