The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has announced that it’s reporting the government to the United Nations workers’ rights watchdog over the “unworkable” new law on strikes.
TUC: coming out swinging
The Strikes (Minimum Service Level) Act requires minimum levels of service during walkouts by various workers. These include healthcare staff, firefighters, and railway employees. The Tory government imposed the Strikes Act in late July following months of industrial action across the UK, amid the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.
In a 10 September press release, the TUC stated that it was lodging the case with the International Labour Organization (ILO) because the legislation “falls far short” of international legal standards. The TUC – an umbrella group of 48 unions comprising more than 5.5 million members – is currently holding its annual conference in Liverpool.
A government spokesperson said:
We believe there needs to be a reasonable balance between the ability of workers to strike with the rights of the public, who work hard and expect essential services they pay for to be there when they need them.
However, TUC general secretary Paul Nowak came out swinging against this line of argument. On 11 September, he told the congress that:
The right to strike is fundamental. Without the right to withdraw our labour, workers become disposable, replaceable and exploitable.
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This new law isn’t about preserving services for the public. It’s about telling us to get back in our place and to not demand better.
Strikes Act: ‘a fundamental attack’
The Strikes Act is a fundamental attack on the right to strike and will make the UK an international outlier on trade union rights and labour standards…
Let me by crystal clear. It is already harder for working people in the UK to take strike action than in any other Western European country.
Now your government wants to restrict the right to strike even further.
In July, trade unions won a High Court battle with the government over law changes they said allowed agencies to supply employers with workers to plug gaps left by striking staff. Now, they seek to repeat that success on a larger scale, undermining the Strikes Act itself.
Additional reporting via Agence France-Presse.Support us and go ad-free
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