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Commenting on the government consultation on the Strikes Act announced today (Friday), TUC general secretary Paul Nowak said:

“No matter how much the government tries to spin it, the Conservatives are brazenly attacking the right to strike.

“This is a sham consultation. Ministers have ignored a mountain of evidence on how these laws are unworkable and will escalate disputes.

“They are ploughing ahead despite their anti-union drive being slapped down by the UN workers’ rights watchdog, and their recent High Court defeat over the use of agency workers during strikes.

“This government seems intent on breaching fundamental rights guaranteed by international law.

“That’s why we will fight this legislation all the way – exploring all avenues, including legal routes.

“Our message is loud and clear. The entire trade union movement will rally behind any worker sacked for exercising their fundamental right to strike.

“We won’t stand by and let workers get sacked for defending their pay and conditions. And we won’t rest until this Act has been repealed.”

On the message to employers, Paul added

"This shambolic, unworkable legislation will frustrate employers and unions alike.

“Every decent employer must reject this blatant attempt at union busting.

“They should do everything in their power to avoid using this counterproductive legislation – and tell government to rethink these regulations which will  poison industrial relations and drag out disputes.”

1 in 5 workers

TUC research found a massive 1 in 5 workers in Britain – or 5.5 million workers – are at risk of having their right to strike undermined.

The Act 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 legislation gives ministers sweeping powers to impose strike restrictions in any service within those extremely broad sectors.

As a result, the legislation has faced a barrage of criticism from employers, 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 – as well as a whole host of other organisations.

The UK’s actions have already come under scrutiny from international organisations. The UN workers’ rights watchdog, the ILO, recently slapped down the UK government over its anti-union agenda and demanded it respect international law. 

Editors note

- Congress 2023 will be held in the ACC Liverpool (Kings Dock, Liverpool Waterfront, Liverpool L3 4FP) from Sunday 10 September to Wednesday 13 September. The deadline for obtaining free media accreditation has now passed. Late applications will be subject to a £75 + VAT administration fee. Passes will be processed and sent out from the middle of August. For more information, please contact the press office.
- 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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