Toggle high contrast
Issue date
• NEW ANALYSIS: Around 1 in 5 workers in Yorkshire & the Humber will have their right to strike threatened by the Strikes Bill
• Strikes Bill returns to the House of Commons today for the final stages

The TUC has today (Monday) warned that the right to strike of a massive 1 in 5 workers in Yorkshire & the Humber is at risk because of the Conservative government’s Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill.

The warning comes as the Strikes Bill returns to the Commons today as MPs cast their final vote on the legislation. 

New analysis published by the union body shows that 1 in 5 workers in the Yorkshire & the Humber could be hit by the Bill.

Those 465,000 workers in the Yorkshire & the Humber will have their right to strike threatened because – if passed unamended – 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 sacked if they don’t comply.   

The TUC says the Bill allows for minimum service levels to be “dictated from Whitehall” rather than taking account of local circumstances.

Across England, Scotland and Wales, 5.5 million workers could be affected by the legislation. Workers in Northern Ireland aren’t subject to the Bill.

The TUC says Conservative MPs have a chance to show “whose side they are on” and stop frontline workers being sacked for exercising the right to strike.

Last month, four key amendments were made to the Bill in the House of Lords – including stopping frontline workers from getting sacked for exercising their right to strike – and MPs now have the chance to confirm or reject them.

Protect the right to strike

The TUC says the Conservative government must drop the Strikes Bill in its entirety and protect the right to strike.

And the EHRC recently warned that the legislation could see all striking workers in affected sectors losing their unfair dismissal protection as whole strikes could be deemed illegal.

The union body says the UK government has failed to come clean about the draconian nature of the Bill – and has accused ministers of “shortcutting” normal scrutiny procedures by “ramming” the Bill through the parliament. 

The Bill will give ministers the power to impose new minimum service levels through regulation. 

But MPs have been given few details on how minimum service levels are intended to operate.

The House of Lords Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee recently criticised the Bill for giving blanket powers to UK ministers while providing virtually no detail.

The Bill has faced a barrage of criticism from civil liberties organisations, the joint committee on human rights, House of Lords Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, race and gender equalities groups, employment rights lawyers, politicians around the world – and a whole host of other organisations.

Bill Adams, TUC regional secretary said:

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

“This spiteful Bill threatens the right to strike of 1 in 5 workers in Yorkshire & the Humber.

“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.

“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.

“Today, Conservative MPs must do the right thing and oppose government plans to sack frontline workers for exercising their right to strike.”

Editors note

- Methodology: This analysis uses the October to December 2022 figures from the Quarterly Labour Survey for employees in England, Wales and Scotland. It includes total figures of those working in health service activities, fire service activities, education, transport, nuclear decommissioning and border security (the sectors named in the Bill). This is used to calculate the total number working in industries affected by the bill in England, Wales and Scotland.

Government Office Region

Yorkshire and Humberside

All in emp


Health Services


86  Human health activities


Fire and rescue


84.25 Fire service activities




85.10 Pre-primary education


85.20 Primary education


85.31 General secondary education


85.32 Techl and vocational secondary educ


Total education




49  Land transport inc via pipelines


50  Water transport


51  Air transport


52  Warehousing & support for transport


Total transport


Decommissioning of nuclear installations etc


38.22 Treatmnt & disp of hazrdous waste


39.00 Remdiatn actv & oth wste mgmt serv


Total nuclear


Border Security


84.24 Public order and safety activities


Total in industries covered by bill


As % of employees


 - About the TUC: The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together the 5.5 million working people who make up our 48 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.


TUC press office  
020 7467 1248 

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

To access the admin area, you will need to setup two-factor authentication (TFA).

Setup now