Regulations on balloting which came into force yesterday have raised concerns that more employees could resort to industrial action to resolve workplace disputes.
The DTI regulations mean minor errors in the balloting process would be disregarded and the employers’ right to sack striking employees would be rescinded.
Under the previous regulations, striking employees were warned their jobs could be forfeited if they took industrial action. Now any dismissal will be deemed unfair if it occurs within eight weeks of them beginning to take part in action, or if the employee had ceased to take industrial action within eight weeks.
Robbie Gilbert, chief executive of the Employers’ Forum on Statute and Practice, said, “If the kind of industrial action we have seen over petrol is seen to produce results it could lead to more industrial action.”
Mike Gooddie, HR director at GNER, said, “These changes do not necessarily mean that more people will strike. It is up to companies to ensure they have enlightened personnel policies that build an environment of trust.”