Carr review into industrial disputes collapses.

8 August 2014 By Tony Burke, Assistant General Secretary, UNITE The review of rules governing industrial disputes, lead by Bruce Carr Q.C. collapsed in August when he notified the Government that: “I am concerned about the ability of the review to operate in a progressively politicised environment in the run-up to the general election and in circumstances in which the main parties will wish to legitimately set out their respective manifesto commitments and have already started to do so”.

Commentary icon8 Aug 2014|Comment

8 August 2014

By Tony Burke, Assistant General Secretary, UNITE

The review of rules governing industrial disputes, lead by Bruce Carr Q.C. collapsed in August when he notified the Government that: “I am concerned about the ability of the review to operate in a progressively politicised environment in the run-up to the general election and in circumstances in which the main parties will wish to legitimately set out their respective manifesto commitments and have already started to do so”.

The statement is seen as a rebuke to public statements made by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude and others on ballots for industrial action.

Set up in the wake of the Grangemouth/Falkirk row last year Maude and business secretary Vince Cable, asked Carr to examine union laws and come up with recommendations relating to union conduct during industrial disputes.

The review was described by the TUC and unions as “headline grabbing union bashing” and a “political stunt” and refused to give evidence.

The CBI also refused to give evidence and Vince Cable gave the review a wide berth.

Carr had been handpicked by the Government to deliver a report, which they hoped would be used to bash unions in the run up to the General Election.

Instead he will produce a report with no recommendations. But as Unite’s Len McCluskey warned: “The Tories remain intent on going into the general election in 2015 with a vicious anti-worker programme”.

The TUC’s Frances O’Grady said that: “Bruce Carr has been cynically used by the government in a party political stunt for the Conservative Party.

“He is right to recognise this “politicisation”. Mr Carr has found his work entirely pre-empted by a Conservative Party press release. The Conservative Party should now repay to the taxpayer the costs of the enquiry.”

Len McCluskey Unite General Secretary said: “The Tories have spectacularly shot themselves in the foot on this. In their haste to attack trade unions, they have embarrassed their own appointee, Bruce Carr, into accepting this report for what it was all along – a desperate pre-election stunt to smear democratic trades unions and their members.

Meanwhile Mark Serwotka General Secretary of PCS said: ”The Tories handpicked Bruce Carr to do their bidding but even he couldn’t stomach their anti-union rhetoric.”

And UCATT General Secretary Steve Murphy said: “The collapse of the Carr Review, demonstrates that the Conservatives’ own placeman, realises that their proposed attacks on worker’s rights, especially the right to strike, cannot be justified by anyone who believes in basic human rights.”

Tony Burke

Tony Burke is President of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions CSEU and chair of the Campaign For Trade... Read more »