The strike busters: Secret plans drawn up to tackle threat of a mass walkout

By Tim Shipman
22nd February 2011

In charge: Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude is leading the unit and has analysed the workforce at thousands of workplaces

A secret ‘war plan’ to prevent a general strike has been drawn up by ministers – with thousands of union-busting workers lined up to cross militant picket lines.

A unit has been set up in the Cabinet Office to prevent Britain grinding to a standstill in the event of mass public sector walkouts.

Officials have conducted ‘war games’ to ensure that strike breakers are available to run vital facilities such as the Tube and energy hotspots such as power stations.

Transport managers and prison bosses have been ordered to organise agency workers and teams of managers to cross picket lines amid fears of a nationwide summer of industrial action.

Ministers believe militant union bosses are planning to bring Britain to a halt with coordinated strikes on roads, railways, and throughout the public services.

The unit, run by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude has analysed the workforce at thousands of prisons, schools, hospitals, railway stations, bus depots and energy facilities to work out where the most militant union staff are based.

Managers at HM Revenue & Customs and the benefits system have been told to prepare contingency plans to keep tax and benefits money flowing.

The plans, drawn up in utmost secrecy, are the coalition’s attempt to emulate Margaret Thatcher’s preparations ahead of the miners’ strike in 1984.

The Tory prime minister resisted militant miners because she had stockpiled more than a year’s supply of coal to prevent the National Union of Mineworker’s holding the government to ransom.

Ministers are conscious it would be extremely difficult to keep every public service functioning in the event of coordinated strikes.

From the Daily Mail