We use cookies to ensure that we can give you the best user experience. By continuing to use our website you are consenting to their use. Find out more.

What language do you need?

Protect the right to strike! Usdaw urges Peers to vote down the Government’s anti-union legislation

Date: 09 May 2023 Retail trade union Usdaw is calling on Members of the House of Lords to reject the Government’s Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill, which has been timetabled for its third reading in the House of Lords today (Tuesday 9 May).
This legislation would allow ministers, by regulation, to impose minimum service levels on services within six sectors, including schools, the NHS, fire and rail and transport, that would apply during periods of strike action. A work notice issued by the employer would then name those individuals required to work and the duties to be undertaken. Those workers deemed to have breached a work notice would lose the legal protection usually given to strikers and could be sacked.
At the House of Lords report stage of the Bill, on 26 April, a combination of Labour, Lib Dem, crossbench peers and bishops voted in support of amendments that neutered the worst bits of this terrible legislation, including:
  • keeping the protection from unfair dismissal for individual workers who fail to comply with the forced work notices imposed by employers.
  • removing the requirement on unions to have to encourage their own members to break strikes.
  • taking devolved governments and service providers in Scotland and Wales out of the bill. 
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Today the House of Lords is being asked to agree this legislation and we respectfully suggest to Peers that the Bill is fundamentally flawed and should be rejected. While we welcome the amendments that Peers secured at the report stage, we still believe the Bill should be rejected in its entirety. This anti-union legislation means that when workers democratically vote to strike, they could be forced to work and sacked if they don’t. That is undemocratic, unworkable and we believe illegal.
“It is a direct attack on working people’s fundamental right to strike to defend their pay, along with other terms and conditions. Going on strike is always a last resort for any worker. However, the threat of strike action helps to focus the minds of employers on reaching an agreement in negotiations. It is essential that we protect the right to strike.
“So we urge Peers to vote against the anti-strike law being debated in the House of Lords today. The Government needs to be told that they should be focussed on negotiating settlements and promoting good and fair industrial relations; not undermining workers’ rights with unwanted legislation.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 350,000 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 www.usdaw.org.uk
TUC protect the right to strike campaign: www.tuc.org.uk/ProtectRightToStrike
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

Share this page

Free prize draw

Enter our free prize draw to win a £100 Love2Shop Gift Voucher courtesy of Usdaw Protect.

The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers