Ban all strikes says Tory mayoral candidate
The government should ban all workers from going on strike, a leading Conservative candidate for London mayor has urged.
London Assembly Conservative leader Andrew Boff told Tory activists on Saturday that he did not understand why employees were allowed to take industrial action against their employers.
"I have long wondered why it is that you can have a contract with someone and then just suddenly decide you are going to suspend the contract for a few days because you feel like it," he told the Conservative Way Forward mayoral hustings in North Finchley.
"I've not understood that and quite frankly I'd ban strikes everywhere."
A total ban on strikes would leave workers with the same rights as those found in communist China and the former Soviet Union.
Boff admitted that a total strike ban was unlikely but insisted that strikes should be banned on the London Underground as a first step.
"Actually what should happen is that strikes should be banned on the Underground. It should be illegal," he said.
Boff's call comes as the government prepares to implement turnout thresholds on all strike ballots. Under the proposed new law, more than 50% of workers would need to take part in any strike ballot before any action would be allowed.
Boff welcomed the new law but said the government should go much further and outlaw industrial action altogether.
London mayor Boris Johnson has previously indicated support for a total strike ban on the Underground followed by binding arbitration.
Boff was joined on stage by his mayoral rival, the deputy mayor for policing Stephen Greenhalgh.
In a bizarre closing speech, Greenhalgh dedicated lengthy thanks and praise to local MP Mike Freer, who he had apparently spotted in the audience.
"This has been hosted by a London MP that I have a tremendous regard for, Mike Freer, an unbelievably good leader of Barnet and a great loss to Barnet when he became a member of parliament," he said, gesturing towards a man standing in the audience.
"What you do here in the constituency that was once represented by the great Margaret Thatcher, you are a great man," Greenhalgh added, addressing the now bemused looking man. Freer was not in attendance at the hustings.
"This man ran the campaign with military precision," he went on, to the sound of awkward laughter rising in the audience.
[You were] like the generalissimo," he added as ironic shouts of "well done Mike!" began to break out.
Subsequent enquiries revealed that the man in the audience was none other than Redbridge councillor Keith Prince.
Prince is current a senior advisor to the deputy mayor for policing… Stephen Greenhalgh.