Letter: An unacceptable anti-strike voice

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Sir: Calls for strikes in essential services to be banned are not new, neither is this the first time that Charles Hanson has expended his energies in this direction ('Keep rolling back union power', 8 September).

In 1988 he argued in Hobart Paper 110 Striking Out Strikes, published by the Thatcherite Institute of Economic Affairs, that the right to strike, in any sector, was an unnecessary hindrance to British industry and should be abolished.

So much for the standards set by the International Labour Organisation and accepted by the major industrial democracies.

Mr Hanson's current call for the abolition of the right to strike in essential services might be more acceptable were it tempered by a proposal, recently suggested by the Institute of Directors, that disputes in these sectors be referred to binding arbitration. Otherwise public sector employees, in common with domestic users of the privatised utilities, will be left to the whims of the not-so- free market.

Yours faithfully,


London, NW5

9 September