Issue date
The UK government’s draconian Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act was forced through Westminster parliament. But the campaign to protect the right to strike continues.

March and rally in Cheltenham, Saturday 27 January  

Our workers’ rights are under attack again.

Join our rally at Montpellier Gardens, Cheltenham at 12pm on Saturday 27 January 

Celebrate our history. Protest against the UK government. Stand up for your rights.

Forty years ago, Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government attacked trade union rights – at GCHQ, where union members were told to resign their membership or be sacked. After a long campaign marked by the fortitude of the workers and their families, and the solidarity of the whole movement, they were reinstated when an incoming Labour government repealed the ban.  

Today, the UK government is restricting the right to strike. The right to strike is a fundamental Welsh and British liberty. We must defend it at all costs. 

Let us know if you can attend the rally

Download materials to promote the rally:

A5 leaflet - Download PDF

A3 poster - Download PDF

Social graphics - Download JPGs

Next steps for the campaign against Minimum Service Levels (MSLs)  

The campaign against the Strikes Act continues. Working people will not accept this heinous attempt to drive down their living standards. We stand together to resist and overcome it. Trade unions will:  

1) March with the sacked GCHQ workers through Cheltenham on 27 January, to commemorate their struggle, and to recommit ourselves to defiant opposition to Conservative minimum service levels, trade union restrictions and any threat to the right to strike.  

2) Call an urgent demonstration and provide support in the event a work notice is deployed and a union or worker is sanctioned in relation to a work notice.  

3) Continue our wider legal challenge to these undemocratic laws – leaving no stone unturned internationally and in UK courts.  

4) Hold the British Labour party to its commitment to repeal this legislation within its first 100 days of office.  

5) Call on all employers and public bodies to oppose this counterproductive legislation.  We welcome statements by NHS Wales Employers, the Welsh Local Government Association and the Welsh Government that they will seek to avoid using strike notices.  We will name and shame any employer who deploys a work notice as anti-union and anti-worker.   

And this movement will never tell our members to cross a picket line.  

What is the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act?   

The Act means 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. 

Not only does the Act attack workers’ rights, it also attacks the right of the people of Wales to run their own devolved public services, like health, education, fire and transport.   

It’s now become clear that in some sectors affected by MSLs, the vast majority of workers would be prohibited from ever taking strike action. This undemocratic new law could curtail the right to strike for one in five workers.   

And that’s not all. This malicious legislation imposes unworkable bureaucracy on unions and their members, and also puts them at risk of huge and unacceptable penalties if they fall foul of the rules. 

The UK government is riding roughshod over workers’ rights  to take strike action to defend their pay and conditions.  

But make no mistake. We won’t stand by and let workers get sacked for defending their pay and conditions. And we won’t rest until this malicious, unnecessary and unworkable law has been repealed.   

Our message is loud and clear. The entire trade union movement will rally behind any union attacked under these MSL laws or any worker sacked for exercising their fundamental right to strike.   

Our campaign to protect the right to strike   

Together we have secured a vital commitment from the British Labour Party that it will repeal this pernicious law in its first 100 days of office.  But until we have a British Labour government, we will take all opportunities to challenge, frustrate and resist this legislation and its implementation. 

We will continue to push employers not to impose work notices that order workers into work during strikes to fulfil minimum service levels.  In Wales, we have established social partnership in law.  Unions, employers and the Welsh government are committed to sitting down together to avoid and resolve disputes.  This does not mean that strikes don’t happen in Wales.  But, NHS Employers, the Welsh Local Government Association and the Welsh Government have all stated that they will seek to avoid issuing work notices.   

In every workplace where employers attempt to deploy and impose these draconian rules, they can expect the trade union movement to respond with a show of force and solidarity for any workers affected.  

The UK government has adopted a reckless approach with its minimum service levels law and the TUC will explore all options to fight this legislation including legal routes.   

The right to strike is a fundamental Welsh liberty that is vital for the balance of power in the workplace. We must defend it at all costs.

Join the protect the right to strike march and rally on 27 July