Society chief calls for dispute law review

The Industrial Society has called for the Government to consider compulsory
arbitration in disputes damaging to essential public services and the wider
economy.

Research shows the South West Trains strike alone is costing £6.1m a day in
lost gross domestic product and the action affects almost one in five London
commuters.

Will Hutton, the Industrial Society’s chief executive has written to the
Trade and Industry Secretary asking for a review of the case for introducing
legislation to enforce arbitration in certain actual and potential industrial
disputes.

"It is important to be realistic about the context for review. The
society does not believe there has been, or is about to be an explosion in
industrial militancy," he said.

"Our concern is the failure to make adequate use of the arbitration
option to help resolve disputes that are both protracted and highly damaging to
large numbers of customers and the wider economy."

A spokesman for the DTI said: "Where industrial disputes are concerned,
we believe it is a matter for the company and its workforce."

He said 7.2 million working days were lost to strike action each year during
the 1980s, compared with 473,000 days to November 2001.

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