Mr Cable’s warning came after unions warned of the possibility of major strikes on June 30th. The Business Secretary said that if the number of strikes remained low he would not have a compelling case for issuing tighter union laws.
During his speech, Mr Cable was jeered and heckled at as he spoke of how pressure would be on him to act if widespread disruption was caused by a higher level of public sector strikes.
The only positive cheers the Business Secretary received were when he spoke of the prospect of a day of industrial action across significant parts of the public sector.
Addressing delegates in Brighton, Mr Cable said: “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.
He added: “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 want to avoid.”
Mr Cable’s views are supported by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who wants laws to prevent a strike taking place unless at least half of the union members in a workplace take part in a ballot.
Paul Kenny, the GMB General Secretary, said: "I don't think that any strike in this country could inflict the sort of economic damage on our country that the banks and finance houses and frankly current Government policy have done.”
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