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If Union Members Can't Be Arsed to Vote Why Should Their Bosses Be Allowed to Hijack People's Lives?

27/05/2015 16:55 BST | Updated 27/05/2016 10:59 BST

This morning I was on the wireless to discuss the government's intention to change the law so that a small number of trade union leaders can't hijack the country by calling strikes that their members don't feel strongly enough about to even cast their ballot.

And as I told BBC Radio Wales and Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the PCS union, who was arguing against the proposals, I think business secretary, Sajid Javid, is being over generous, setting the bar at 40% of members being required to vote in favour of a strike.

I can't see how any right thinking person would agree that it is reasonable for the economy to be dumped into turmoil by any number less than 40% of those affected, in what is a straight yes-no vote. This isn't, as Mr Serwotka tried to disingenuously suggest, the same as the General Election, where there are multiple parties competing. In this type of race there are only two horses in the running - the one with the red jockey pushing for a strike, and the one with the blue rider trying to keep his charge in the race.

Personally I believe that it would be fairer to have the level set at 50% of all members to make a strike legal, but Mr Javid's further requirement for a minimum turnout of 50% be achieved will at least mean that a majority of members must voice their opinion.

For too long Union leaders have been able to mobilise a militant few to do their bidding, calling strikes on shamefully low levels of support. Now at least the economy will be safe from this kind of manipulation. And if union members can't be arsed to cast their vote then it's probably not an issue worth putting businesses and the wider economy at risk over!

What I suspect has happened over the years is that the many decent, non-militant members, who prefer to get on with their jobs, and have no philosophical axe to grind, have given up voting, as they know that a combination of the apathy of many and the zealousness of a few, means there's no point in them having their say.

I think what the unions are afraid of here is that under these new rules they run the real risk of calling a vote on strike action and losing it to the blue runner, in a straight two horse race. Now that would be embarrassing!