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Union says Welsh Secretary fails Tories' own test

One of the unions behind the public sector strike has dismissed Conservative calls for tougher rules on strike ballots as "utter hypocrisy". Many Tory MPs now want a requirement for strikes to be backed by more than half the workforce, not just the majority of those who actually vote in a ballot.

Unite said its research showed that no Tory MP was elected with the votes of over 50% of the electorate. The union claimed that the Welsh Secretary, David Jones, had the least backing of any cabinet member, with just 27% support in his Clwyd West constituency.

It is utter hypocrisy for the government to talk about mandates for trade unions when not a single member of the present cabinet would have been elected using the same criteria. This government has no mandate to attack trade unions or the workers who have been forced to take industrial action today in their fight to end poverty pay.

Britain’s anti-trade union laws are already amongst the most restrictive in Europe. Tory attempts to further curtail the rights of working people to democratically organise risks placing Cameron’s Britain alongside nations like Kazakhstan, Albania and Niger where the right for public servants to take action is forbidden.

– Unite general secretary Len McCluskey

More workers joining trade unions in Wales

Membership of Trade Unions is on the increase in Wales Credit: Press Association Images

Membership of trade unions across the UK is falling, but Wales is bucking the trend. Recent figures show that 40,000 more workers were members of trade unions in 2013, compared to 2012.

Unison welcomed the increase in numbers. A spokesperson said, "Trade unions are as important now as they have ever been. Workers would not have annual leave, maternity and paternity leave, and sick leave if it weren't for trade unions."

At their in 1979 peak trade unions membership reached over 13 million across the UK. Since then the numbers have been steadily declining as the world of work has changed. The workforce in industries such as mining, which were traditionally heavily unionised, has shrunk dramatically.

Experts say the growth in Wales might be because younger people are more likely to join unions if their parents were members.