Labour urged to reform strike law

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Indy Politics
Legislation to allow sympathy action by strikers was called for last night by Kevin McNamara, a former Labour front-bench spokesman, in a clear message to the party leadership to reverse Tory employment laws, writes Colin Brown.

Secondary action was outlawed when James Prior was Baroness Thatcher's employment secretary, but Mr McNamara, a former Northern Ireland spokesman, said it should be included in a Bill of workers' rights.

"Secondary action is something which must be recognised," Mr McNamara told a meeting in Belfast. He said workers should be able to go on strike and engage in other industrial action and not be dismissed by their employer.

"A legal right to the suspension of a contract of employment during a lawful strike should be a defence in law. With that also must go the right to engage in secondary action, particularly where the employer moves work to another site."

Labour is currently debating reforming trade union laws, but restoring legal rights to secondary action, where there is no connection with the dispute, is ruled out by Labour leaders.