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Millions of workers face losing right to strike, says TUC

09 May 2023 2 minute read
Photo: Andrew Matthews / PA Media

Millions of workers face losing the right to strike because of the UK Government’s controversial legislation on minimum levels of service during industrial action, the TUC has warned.

Analysis by the union body suggested that 5.5 million workers in England, Scotland and Wales could be affected by the legislation.

Workers in Northern Ireland are not subject to the Bill, which is due for its third reading in the House of Lords on Tuesday.

Unions say the Bill will mean that when workers lawfully vote to strike in health, education, fire, transport, border security and nuclear decommissioning, they could be forced to attend work – and be sacked if they do not comply.

Serious opposition

The TUC said the legislation should provoke “serious opposition” from politicians, claiming that the Government has failed to come clean about the “draconian” nature of the Bill.

MPs have been given few details on how minimum service levels are intended to operate, said the TUC.

General secretary Paul Nowak said: “This Conservative Government is threatening the right to strike of as many as one in five workers up and down the country.

“This is a spiteful Bill. No-one should be sacked for trying to win a better deal at work, but this draconian legislation would mean that when workers democratically vote to strike, they could be forced to work and sacked if they don’t comply.

“It’s undemocratic, it’s unworkable and it’s very likely illegal.

“Ministers have tried to keep the public in the dark about the true nature of this Bill.

“They are ramming it through – shortcutting normal parliamentary procedures and ducking scrutiny, and they are giving themselves the power to snatch away the right to strike of five-and-a-half million workers.

“With inflation still running at over 10%, the last thing workers need is for ministers to make it harder to secure better pay and conditions.

“It’s time for ministers to protect the right to strike and ditch this Bill for good.”


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Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
4 months ago

They may prevent those occupations from striking but there are other ways these people will voice their discontent. Ultimately, people will just leave and recruiting will become even more difficult. I once worked as a manager for a newsagency company, running one of the shops. Staff were not treated well and on the day I left five other managers in the area left at the same time. The company went bust not too long afterwards. Draconian measures will just lead to more trouble in the future.

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