One of the striking features of industrial relations reform is that as strikes have declined, lockouts have increased. According to a recent ACCIRT study (PDF), most working days lost in long disputes (more than a month) are due to lockouts. The extreme case of the lockout, mass sackings with replacement by new workers on worse conditions is, I think, not covered in these statistics, but is increasingly important. Nothing could give a clearer indication of the inherent bias of the reform process than the resurgence of forms of industrial action that had virtually disappeared for most of the 20th century.
The Gourmet Gate dispute in the UK is a particularly nasty example of the process, and one where international action can make a difference. Gourmet Gate is a subcontractor spun off from British Airways, a company with lots of customers around the world . To support the workers in this dispute, go to Labourstart. There’s more on the dispute from Polly Toynbee, who is pretty pessimistic, but I think underestimates the chance that BA can be shamed into some kind of settlement.
fn1. The classic case was the waterfront dispute, where the new employees were, unsurprisingly left in the lurch when their backers decided to settle with the union.