Given the unpopularity of the tube strikes and the close associations of Ken Livingstone and Ed Miliband with the trade unions on one level they are a political problem for the Labour Party. But I am also concerned that when I go round canvassing for Boris in 2012 voters will say: "Look, we've got a Conservative Mayor and a Conservative Prime Minister and the unions behaving outrageously, what have you done about it?" Those voters will have a point.
Boris has suggested a change in the law so that strike could only take place if over 50% of the workforce had voted in the ballot – rather than at present being able to go ahead we a majority on a low turnout. That would help. For yesterday's strike the ballot turnout was only 33%. But many tube drivers are very well paid on the back of militant trade union leaders and craven TfL management. The unions might well be still able to persuade them that strikes are in their interests.
Driverless trains don't go on strike (although as Sally Roberts said in the earlier thread their controllers might if they were unionised.) Cllr Floru suggests changing the law on immunities. Another area would be to follow Ronald Reagan's exampleon air traffic controllers and sack the strikers – with whatever necessary legal changes being provided before hand to make this possible.
During a previous tube strike the Tory MP Michael Fallon implied no legal changes were needed and Boris could just get on with it:
'Let's see Boris's backbone. He needs to break this strike. He should not cave in. He should recruit a reserve army of Tube drivers to replace the strikers. President Ronald Reagan did that to beat a strike by air traffic controllers. Boris should do it here. He should also ensure the strikers' pay is docked for good, not quietly paid back afterward to keep the peace.'
Or the Government could bring in a ban on strikes in essential public services – to include transport and also the fire brigade.