Mandelson blow to unions

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The Independent Online
THE GOVERNMENT will tell union leaders today that Peter Mandelson will have critical powers to influence the operation of new employment rights.

Most controversially, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry will be able to intervene over the way union recognition law will work, The Independent understands.

Union leaders will hear of the proposals at a crucial meeting of the TUC's ruling general council, which will be addressed by Ian McCartney, a minister in Mr Mandelson's department.

Mr McCartney is facing a rough ride from senior trade unionists, who are later expected to express their strong misgivings at a meeting with Tony Blair at Number 10. The trade minister will tell union leaders that the Central Arbitration Committee, the organisation which will police the recognition law, will have considerable powers of discretion.

The CAC will be able to order a ballot of the workforce even where a union has secured 50 per cent membership.