A QC tasked with reviewing the law governing industrial disputes has declined to produce recommendations, citing the ‘progressively politicised’ environment in which he is working.
Bruce Carr QC was commissioned by the government to conduct the review in April. He was asked to assess alleged use of extreme tactics in industrial disputes and the effectiveness of the existing legal framework in preventing ‘inappropriate or intimidatory actions’.
This followed claims that Unite union sent a ‘mob’ to the home of a refinery manager at Grangemouth petrochemical plant during a dispute.
The Trades Union Congress dismissed the review as ‘never anything more than a headline grabbing party-political stunt’.
In a statement today, Carr said: ‘I have become increasingly concerned about the quantity and breadth of evidence that the review has been able to obtain from both employers and trade unions.
‘I am also concerned about the ability of the review to operate in a progressively politicised environment in the run-up to the next general election.
‘That being so, I have reached the conclusion that it will simply not be possible for the review to put together a substantial enough body of evidence from which to provide a sound basis for making recommendations for change.’
Carr said he will produce a report on union actions in disputes by early autumn.
Last month Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude insisted trade union law must be changed to end ‘irresponsible strikes on the basis of low ballot turnouts and mandates which are years old’.
His comments coincided with a walkout by up to one million teachers, firefighters, passport office workers, job centre advisers and court staff.