Cable to unions: have your right to strike (but don’t even think of using it).

This post was written by Jon on June 7, 2011
Posted Under: Capitalism,Class,Public Sector,Trade Unions,Uncategorized

Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, has just provided yet more evidence that he is, in fact, an odious little shit. In a speech to a union conference, he warned that if widespread public sector strikes take place (which seems likely), the government would enact new anti-strike legislation. This is part of the speech obtained by the Guardian before the conference:

“We are undoubtedly entering a difficult period. Cool heads will be required all round. Despite occasional blips, I know that strike levels remain historically low, especially in the private sector. On that basis, and assuming this pattern continues, the case for changing strike law is not compelling,”

“However, should the position change, and should strikes impose serious damage to our economic and social fabric, the pressure on us to act would ratchet up. That is something which both you, and certainly I, would wish to avoid.” (Here:

What’s really amazing about this rubbish is the fact that this is regarded a fantastically clever move by the Business Secretary at this tense moment in negotiations. From the Guardian, again:

A business department source insisted that Cable was issuing a “subtle” message to the unions. “We hope the unions will see this as quite comforting that the secretary of state says there is no case at the moment. But at the same time if circumstances change, the government’s position will change,” the source said.

This is the language of the mafia thug. (“Nice labour movement you got here. Shame if something happened to it…”)

If the government cared, actually gave a shit, about avoiding recession and saving thousands from destitution, the message to the unions would be very different.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the economy cannot recovery properly without a policy of wealth redistribution. Increasing inequality and stagnating wages have destroyed real affluence in this country, and it’s hard to see how effective demand will be able to recover when what little wealth the country now produces goes increasingly to the top of the income scale, where it sits and does nothing. The unions are the force in society best suited to tackle this. On the economic front, stronger collective bargaining power will ensure that the benefits of economic growth are enjoyed more widely, increasing the spending power of ordinary people; on the political side, the unions can articulate an alternative to austerity economics(something Labour has failed to do).

The UK needs more strikes: they’re good for the economy.

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Reader Comments


Excellant article. Well done!

Written By Joel on June 7th, 2011 @ 3:27 pm

Well said – couldn’t agree more

Written By Will on June 8th, 2011 @ 11:23 am

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