Letter: Seeking ways to end Tube strike

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The Independent Online
Sir: In reference to your news story (19 July), I would like to make it clear that the Labour Party has no plans to introduce compulsory binding arbitration for all public service disputes.

On Wednesday, I answered a question about the Tube strike in London and the very specific issues of hours and holidays at the centre of that dispute. Labour's call for arbitration is not "backing the bosses" but recognising that in this instance, there is a better way of resolving a dispute which is making it near impossible for hundreds of thousands of Londoners to get to work - not least those who do not have cars or cannot afford taxis.

The days have long gone when simplistic knee-jerk reactions are either appropriate or acceptable. But there should be no mistake in anyone's mind that the Labour Party will support, as it always has, those who are seeking fair redress for unfair treatment.

The Independent would be the first to criticise Labour if we assumed that on every occasion support for strike action was appropriate, or that there was only one way of resolving a dispute - especially where the central point of the dispute is about interpretations over whether a particular agreement has been reneged on.

DAVID BLUNKETT MP

(Sheffield Brightside, Lab)

House of Commons

London SW1

The writer is Shadow Secretary for Education and Employment

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