Labour Market

Minimum strike requirements may not be effective in easing winter strikes


In the Media

Christopher Snowdon quoted in The Mail

Matthew Lesh quoted in The Telegraph

Prof. Len Shackleton writes for CapX

IEA Transport Expert Professor Len Shackleton has written in CapX arguing that proposals for a minimum service guarantee to ease the burden of strike action may not be a silver bullet.

Len wrote:

“This would have required ‘relevant employers and trade unions’ – nominated by the Secretary of State, and expected to cover rail, tubes, buses and probably airlines – to negotiate arrangements to provide a basic level of service in disputes.

“Failure to agree would mean that the Central Arbitration Committee could determine the minimum service level. Failing that, the Secretary of State could set interim levels of service subject to agreement by both Houses of Parliament.

“How would this work? On the railways it would involve at least three unions (ASLEF, RMT and TSSA)  being involved, as their responsibilities (and disputes) overlap.”

Len concluded:

“The Government would likely get bogged down in legal challenges and would certainly face great difficulties in reaching acceptable levels of provision during strikes.

“In emergency services in particular, it would be simpler and probably more effective simply to ban strikes outright, or impose compulsory arbitration. In other areas such as rail and Royal Mail it might make more sense just to let the unions run themselves into the ground and face the consequences in terms of job losses and service cuts.”

Len’s full article can be read here.