With BT walkout nearing CBI calls for changes to strike rules

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With BT walkout nearing CBI calls for changes to strike rules

Simon Quicke

As BT staff are balloted on industrial action there have been calls from the CBI to change the rules around strikes to make it harder for unions to get the backing for a walk out.

The Communication Workers Union started the process of balloting its members late last week and has until 5 July to get the responses and then could go on strike from around the 12 July onwards.

The BT strike would follow in the wake of highly publicised industrial action taken by staff at British Airways and National Rail.

But in response to the current wave of strikes the CBI wants to see the threshold for the support required for industrial action taken up and is demanding that at least 40% of the balloted workforce must vote.

Up to this point several strikes have been secured with relatively few members of staff voting.

"Strikes cause misery. They prevent ordinary people going about their daily lives, whether it's getting to work or getting the kids to school," said John Cridland, CBI deputy director-general.

"Strikes also cost the economy dearly and undermine our efforts to help rebuild the economy. That is why we believe the bar needs to be raised, so strike action is not possible unless 40 per cent of the workforce has actively voted to withdraw its labour," he added.

The call for changes to strike action have also been accompanied by calls for a wider availability for employees to work flexibly in the CBI's report Making Britain the Place to Work.




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