The anti-strike bill is draconian and undemocratic, and will do nothing to fix the problems this government has caused
Thousands of UK workers are being forced to take industrial action to protect their pay, standard of living and the services they provide. But rather than helping workers live decent lives and improving the services that millions of people rely on every day, the Westminster government is turning its back on working people.
Strikes are always a symptom of a problem but the government’s answer is to fast-track the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill that will add further restrictions on the right to strike in the health, education, transport, and fire and rescue services, as well as border security and parts of the nuclear, radioactive waste and fuel sectors.
That won’t fix the deep-rooted causes of industrial disputes which is the government’s inability to manage the country’s public services and our economy.
UNISON is supporting the TUC’s campaign to defend the right to strike because this government believes its priority is taking away a legitimate part of industrial negotiations and more importantly, a fundamental right of workers – to withdraw their labour.
UNISON’s members are essential workers in public services, and our strike action takes place only after thorough plans for emergency cover have been negotiated and agreed with employers. But if the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill is passed by parliament, even if workers vote for legal industrial action, they could be forced to cross picket lines or be sacked if they don’t.
The UK already has among the most draconian restrictions on the right to strike in Europe, and the UK government’s plans would push it even further away from normal, democratic practice across Europe.
These draconian and undemocratic measures are about to be imposed on us, against our will. This is on top of high inflation, a pay crisis in our public sector, the NHS on its knees, and an economic outlook as grim as the constant sleaze that flows out of Whitehall.
This bill will do nothing to change any situation imposed by a government that has spent over a decade creating the situation we’re in now and we must be part of the campaign to defeat it.
As the cost-of-living crisis continues to hurt workers everywhere, we need to be able to stand together and choose to strike when we must. These laws will do nothing to fix this crisis – they will make it even harder for working people to get pay rises.
The UK already has some of the most restrictive trade union laws in the world – but workers have been pushed into action by a government and employers that won’t listen. You can’t legislate away the depth of anger workers feel about how they’ve been treated.
Every working person is under attack from these new laws. Join the campaign. We must defend the right to strike.
Camden UNISON Branch Office
3rd Floor Crowndale Centre
218-220 Eversholt Street
Tel: 020 7974 1633