Tory MP Dominic Raab’s attempt to introduce a bill in the House of Commons that would require more than 50 per cent of trade union members to vote for industrial action to make it legal was defeated by 171 to 151 votes last night. Raab is MP for leafy Esher and Walton.
Raab had claimed the measure requiring a majority of all emergency and transport staff to back strikes was needed to avoid a “militant minority” of union members from holding others “to ransom”, and staging stoppages that caused “serious damage to the economy”.
Currently, unions need the majority of those responding to a ballot to vote in favour of a walkout before calling a strike. There is no minimum turnout required.
Debating the new bill on the BBCs Today programme, RMT general secretary Bob Crow wiped the floor with Raab calling the proposal “a nonsense”, citing the country’s voting system as an example where MPs and councillors were elected with less than 50 per cent of the popular vote, or on a turnout of under 50 per cent.
But Raab defended his plans, saying the laws governing ballots and industrial action gave unions “a licence to coerce others and a licence to disrupt the public”.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said of the bill that Prime Minister David Cameron was “very keen on it, and that matters a great deal.”
Whilst it is good news that the barmy Raab bill was defeated the true nature of the Tory Party was exposed by the vote for it. Over 150 of the Tory Taliban supported it. It is also good news that over 170 MPs voted against it. Pity we didn’t get as good a turnout in support of John McDonnell’s pro-union ‘Minor Errors” bill last year.