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  • Spiteful legislation is a “full-frontal attack” on the right to strike, says TUC 

  • Government “shortcutting” scrutiny with new bill, union body warns 

The TUC has accused the government of attempting to “steamroller” through new draconian legislation which attacks the fundamental right to strike without proper consultation or scrutiny. 

The minimum service levels bill is back in parliament today (Monday) for its second reading, and would give ministers sweeping new powers that restrict the right to strike. 

If passed, it will mean that when workers democratically and 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. 

The TUC is calling on MPs of all parties to reject this spiteful legislation, which it says is “shortcutting” normal scrutiny procedures. 

The bill gives ministers power to impose new minimum service levels through regulation. But consultations on how these regulations will work have not been published, and parliamentarians have been given no detail on how minimum service levels are intended to operate – and the government has not yet published an impact assessment for the bill.   

The TUC says the new legislation will “do nothing” to solve the current disputes across the public sector, and “only make matters worse”. 

The impact assessment published in Autumn alongside the government’s previous Bill, aiming to set minimum service levels in transport, shows how minimum service levels could poison industrial relations – lengthening disputes and leading to more frequent industrial action. 

TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak said:  

"This draconian bill is a full-frontal attack on the right to strike – and the government is trying to steamroller it through parliament, without proper consultation or scrutiny. 

“This spiteful legislation would mean that when workers democratically vote to strike, they can be forced to work and sacked if they don’t comply.   

“Make no mistake – this is undemocratic, unworkable and likely illegal. 

“And it will do nothing to solve the current disputes across the economy – but only make matters worse. 

“Workers are facing a living standards emergency. But with inflation running at over 10%, ministers are making it harder for working people to secure better pay and conditions. 

“It’s time the government got its priorities straight. 

“Instead of scheming up new ways to attack the right to strike, ministers should get pay rising across the economy – starting with a decent pay rise for workers across the public sector.” 

Editors note

- 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  

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