A LEADING Scottish think tank has called for the scrapping of a new trade union law which restricts the right to strike.

The Jimmy Reid Foundation (JRF) made the call after the RMT union lost a ballot on London Underground when it failed to reach a legal threshold for industrial action despite there being overwhelming majority support from those who voted.

Under the UK Government's Trade Union Act strikes are outlawed when they have not been voted for by at least 40 per cent of eligible union members and where the turnout does not reach 50 per cent.

Loading article content

In one of the first cases under the new legislation, although 80 per cent of those RMY members who returned ballots voted to strike over "victimisation" that was just a 34 per cent of those eligible which meant that the overwhelming vote for action was not legally valid.

In a report about the RMT case last week the JRF argued that it showed the urgent need to scrap the law that restricts strikes.

The JRF report said: “Even the case of the RMT, which lost a ballot this week for industrial action on the London Underground amongst 3743 members, shows that passing both the thresholds of 50 per cent turnout and 40 per cent support of all those entitled to vote is a Herculean task.

“Some union members will say 'if the RMT can't attain the thresholds, what chance have we got?'

“This underscores the urgent need for a Corbyn-led Labour government to implement its policy of repealing the Trade Union Act and introduce the reform of collective labour law in order to guarantee workers' rights.”

However, Tory MSP Murdo Fraser defended the legislation passed in the last parliament.

He said: "If trade unions cannot interest a reasonable proportion of their members in strike action the the public should not have to suffer."