Changes to strike ballot urged
Changes to strike ballots should be made as part of the "modernisation" of industrial relations, a think tank has urged.
Policy Exchange said ballot papers should include information about the length of any industrial action and spell out specific grievances.
A majority of employees in a workforce, or a minimum of 40% of trade union members, should vote in favour of a strike before action can go ahead, the think tank suggested.
The report also called for employers to be allowed to use agency staff to do the work of strikers and for the period of protection from unfair dismissal during a strike to be reduced from 12 weeks to eight weeks.
Andrew Lilico, Policy Exchange's chief economist, said: "The existing framework for industrial relations is out of kilter with the realities of the make-up of the modern workforce and the relationship between employers and employees.
"There are some specific reforms that should be made with regards to rebalancing the power between trade unions, workers and employers.
"Particularly important ones include requiring that ballots identify a specific grievance and authorise a particular set of industrial action, allowing more use of agency staff, and investigating whether unions are monopolies in respect of their provision of services to workers.
"Some of the large multi-sector unions may be simply too big and need to be broken up into smaller competing units."
Ed Holmes, co-author of the report, added: "Taxpayer funding of unions is extensive, and often hidden. There is a clear need for greater transparency.
"It is difficult to identify any good rationale for the existence of the Trade Union Modernisation Fund, even in periods when public spending was rising rapidly. In a time of fiscal belt-tightening, it should be abolished."