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Protect the right to strike

The government’s draconian Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act was forced through Parliament by the government. But the campaign to protect the right to strike continues.

Special Congress 

The TUC will hold a special Congress on Saturday 9 December to discuss the next stage of campaigning against the Conservatives’ anti-strike laws. 

The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 

The government’s draconian Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act was forced through Parliament by the government.    

This 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. This undemocratic new law could curtail the right to strike for 1 in 5 workers.  

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 And we won’t rest until this bill has been repealed.   

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

Our campaign to protect the right to strike 

We can all be proud of the campaign we have run against this attack on the right to strike. The government thought this law would be easy to push through. But we won allies across society, across the political spectrum and around the world. The condemnation of their anti-democratic plans made headlines at home and abroad. We defeated them an astounding three times in the House of Lords. It has delayed the implementation of this terrible law, embarrassed the Conservatives and made them pay a political price. And together we have also secured a vital commitment from the Labour Party that they will repeal this pernicious law in their first 100 days of office.  

During our campaign, hundreds of thousands union members signed petitions, lobbied our MPs, wrote hand-written letters to peers in the House of Lords and took to the streets to protect our right to strike.  

But ultimately, the government cynically used their 80 seat majority to force this legislation through despite widespread opposition.

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

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

Next steps 

Regulations setting out the details for minimum service levels in border security, passenger rail and ambulance services have been laid before Parliament. And the government is consulting on introducing minimum service levels in universities, fire, schools and hospitals. These regulations need to be debated and approved by both houses of parliament. It is important that we make sure that the voices of working people are heard in those debates.

Ministers have also brought forward a code of practice setting out more detail about the "reasonable steps" that unions will be required to undertake when work notices are provided by employers during a period of industrial action. The code of practice is set to be debated by MPs on Monday 27 November.

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