Plans to outlaw such strikes in the 1980s were dropped because of fears of a showdown with millions of union members, and the difficulties of deciding which workers should be included and what penalties would be used against those who broke the law.
A spokesman for the Department of Trade and Industry said a framework was now being set up to reduce strike action. But more sceptical Whitehall sources said that this kind of tough-minded legislation always came to ministers' minds amid a period of disruption, only to be dropped when the threat was over. Legislation before the election was unlikely, they suggested, but a pledge in the Conservative manifesto is a possibility. Barrie ClementReuse content