Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered a wide-ranging inquiry into industrial disputes, including alleged intimidation tactics of trade unions, following the bitter row that almost led to the closure of the Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland.
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady has hit out at the Government's commissioning of an independent review into industrial disputes - and union tactics in particular - saying:
This has nothing to do with good industrial relations and is simply part of the Conservative Party's general election campaign.
We already have some of the most restrictive union laws in the democratic world. Too many Conservatives seem to think that cheap anti-union jibes will detract from the cost of living crisis. The polls suggest they are wrong.
Union officials have dismissed the Government-ordered independent inquiry into industrial disputes as politically motivated and a distraction to the "cost of living crisis".
A Unite spokesman said: "Vince Cable may not have noticed but the Grangemouth dispute has been settled. This review is nothing more than a Tory election stunt which no trade unionist will collaborate with."
GMB general secretary Paul Kenny agreed, saying the announcement "seems like another sop to the Tory backbenches".
He said the "real scandal at Grangemouth" concerned the chairman of the refinery's owners Ineos, Jim Ratcliffe, and how he was "able with impunity to hold the country to ransom".
The joint endorsement of the review into industrial disputes by the Conservative's Francis Maude and the Liberal Democrat's Vince Cable has suggested renewed coalition tensions on the main target of the inquiry.
Mr Maude said the review would chiefly examine: "Allegations about trade union industrial intimidation tactics, including attempts to sabotage businesses supply chains and harass employers' families."
Mr Cable, though, stressed the review would examine wrongdoing on both sides of industrial disputes.
He added: "There are rogue unions but there are also rogue employers, some of whom have in the past engaged in illegal tactics like blacklisting."