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Protect the right to strike! Usdaw joins the TUC emergency protest and urges the Government to drop their anti-union legislation

Date: 22 May 2023 Retail trade union Usdaw is calling on the Government to drop their Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill. Today the House of Commons will consider Lords amendments to the Bill, but the union is still calling for it not to go ahead. Usdaw has members joining a trade union demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament this evening.
This legislation would allow ministers, by regulation, to impose minimum service levels on services during strikes in six sectors, including schools, the NHS, fire, rail and transport. A work notice issued by the employer would 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, a combination of Labour, Lib Dem,
crossbench peers and bishops voted in support of amendments that tempered 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.
  • requiring a consultation with a Parliamentary committee prior to regulations being made. 
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Today the House of Commons is considering amendments to the Bill from the House of Lords, which Usdaw supports, but we still believe this legislation is fundamentally flawed and should be rejected. 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 MPs to say loud and clear to the Government that they should step back from this unwanted legislation that seeks to undermine workers’ rights and the process of industrial relations.”
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

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