MPs will today debate and vote on the second reading of the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill. The change of law means that, even after democratically voting to strike, workers can be forced into work and could be sacked if they don't comply. Unions have described the measure as undemocratic, unworkable and probably illegal.
Usdaw is also one of eleven trade unions to launch a TUC co-ordinated judicial review of the Government’s regulations to allow agency workers to fill in for striking workers and break strikes. The High Court has now granted permission for the legal challenge and a hearing will be held from late March onwards.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says:
“It beggars belief that, in the middle of a cost of living emergency, the Government is focussed on launching ideological attacks on workers’ rights. The right to strike is a fundamental liberty, but the Government seems determined on attacking it at every opportunity. These measures tilt the balance of power too far towards employers and prevent workers standing up for decent services and safety at work, along with defending their jobs and pay.
“Instead of undermining trade union members, the Government should be working with us on to eliminate low-pay and insecure work and they would do well to adopt Labour’s New Deal for Workers. With millions of households facing fuel poverty, the British public will look on in disbelief that ministers are prioritising attacks on trade unions over tackling spiralling prices and delivering fair pay awards.
“The Tories promised to ‘level up’ and ‘build back better’ after the pandemic, but instead ministers are disgracefully seeking new ways to make it harder for working people to bargain for better pay and conditions. So we urge MPs to vote against the anti-strike legislation being debated in the House of Commons today. The Government should be focussed on negotiating settlements not undermining workers’ rights.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers)
is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with around 360,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemical industry and other trades.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news
and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion