Business Secretary Vince Cable has moved to reassure delegates at the GMB union’s conference that the right for workers to strike will remain in place just as long as they promise not to use it.
Union leaders have expressed anger at the possible introduction of tougher union laws which could make strike action illegal, but Mr Cable has insisted that this would only happen if they exercised their right and actually took strike action.
In the speech Mr Cable revealed that he would get tough on the unions rather than the people who were responsible for the current economic plight, but only if he “really, really had to”.
Responding to boos and jeers, Mr Cable told delegates in Brighton “Let me reassure you that your right to strike will be completely unaffected just so long as you promise that you won’t.”
“I am a Liberal at heart, and I completely back the rights of people to do as they please, right up until the point it becomes politically inconvenient.”
Cable unreassuring reassurances
Cable went on, “Strike levels remain historically low, but if people start doing the things they’ve got the right to do all over the place, then we’ll have to review what rights people can have.”
“We have to strike a balance between getting ordinary workers to foot the bill for the recovery, and them being able to keep their right to complain about it.”
“It’s a little thing us Lib-Dems like to call compromise.”