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Vince Cable to warn GMB against co-ordinated strikes

     Vince Cable Mr Cable will be delivering his first speech to a union conference as business secretary Business secretary Vince Cable is to warn delegates at the GMB union's conference that co-ordinated strike action may lead to tougher union laws. Union leaders have warned that there could be strike action taken by 750,000 public sector workers on 30 June.
    Mr Cable is expected to say that while the level of strikes is low there is not a compelling case for tighter laws.
    But he will warn that the pressure on him to act would ratchet up if there were to be widespread disruption.
    Union sources have told the BBC it is an "extremely unhelpful threat", at a time when ministers and union leaders are trying to broker a deal on changes to public sector pensions.
    'Serious damage' BBC political correspondent Laura Kuenssberg says unions could organise precisely the kind of industrial action that Vince Cable is warning against if no broad agreement is reached by the end of next month.
    Addressing delegates in Brighton, Mr Cable is expected to say: "We are undoubtedly entering a difficult period. Cool heads will be required all round. Despite occasional blips, I know that strike levels remain historically low, especially in the private sector.
    "On that basis, and assuming this pattern continues, the case for changing strike law is not compelling.
    "However, should the position change, and should strikes impose serious damage to our economic and social fabric, the pressure on us to act would ratchet up. That is something which both you, and certainly I, would wish to avoid."
    Mr Cable is expected to concede that feelings are running high in the trade union movement as demonstrations in March showed.
    But he will call for unions and the government to work together to deal with economic challenges.
    Mayor of London Boris Johnson and employers' organisation the CBI have already been calling for tougher trade union laws
    Mr Johnson wants laws to prevent a strike taking place unless at least half of the union members in a workplace take part in a ballot. He has criticised the government as "lily-livered" for not taking firmer action.
    The CBI has called for a minimum of 40% of union members balloted to be in favour of a strike before it can take place.
    Some 250,000 civil servants in the PCS union are currently being balloted on whether to take strike action over government spending cuts.
    Any PCS action could lead to co-ordinated walkouts with 750,000 teachers, lecturers and other workers in the largest joint-union walkout in years.

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Vince Cable to warn GMB against co-ordinated strikes

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