Wales TUC to hold rally against key workers’ strike ban bill
Wales TUC has announced it is calling a rally to demand the UK government withdraws the minimum service levels bill and its “latest attack on the right to strike”.
The rally will take place at 11.30 on 1 February outside the Secretary of State for Wales’ Office at William Morgan House in Cardiff.
The UK Government introduced new legislation to Parliament earlier this month requiring “minimum safety levels” during industrial action.
The Bill will ensure vital public services maintain a “basic function” when workers go on strike, according to the UK Business Secretary Grant Shapps, who added the legislation will demonstrate “life and limb must come first” when strike action takes place.
The minimum service levels bill – dubbed the “sack key workers bill” – would mean that when workers lawfully vote to strike in health, education, fire, transport, border security and nuclear decommissioning, they can be forced to work and sacked if they don’t comply.
Wales TUC says this legislation shows that the UK government is determined to attack workers’ fundamental right to strike.
The union body says that the proposed legislation would make it harder for disputes to be resolved – pointing to the UK government’s own impact assessment, which suggests minimum service levels prolong disputes and lead to more frequent strikes.
Wales TUC General Secretary Shavanah Taj said: “The right to strike is a fundamental Welsh freedom, hard won over many generations – but this UK government seems determined to attack it.
“This legislation would mean that when workers democratically vote to strike, they can be forced to work and sacked if they don’t comply.
“That’s undemocratic, unworkable, and almost certainly illegal.
“UK ministers have gone from clapping key workers to sacking key workers. They seem more interested in scheming up new draconian restrictions on the right to strike than addressing the real concerns of public sector workers.
“Let’s be clear. If passed, this bill will prolong disputes and poison industrial relations – leading to more frequent strikes.
“That’s why all Welsh MPs must do the right thing and reject this cynical ‘sack key workers bill’.
“It’s time for the UK government to show they are on the side of nurses, firefighters and all our key workers who got the four nations through the pandemic – not actively working against them.”
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