Unions plan ‘day of action’ to fight for the right to strike

Trade unions to hold national ‘protect the right to strike’ day as anger over the government’s anti-strike bill escalates.

Protect the right to strike

Trade unions are planning a national ‘protect the right to strike’ day as anger over the government’s anti-strike bill escalates.

Left with few alternatives in the face of legislation that undermines workers ability to strike, unions hope the collective day of action will maximise pressure on the government against the minimum service levels bill.

The bill – also dubbed the “sack key workers” bill – could let ministers in effect ban strikes in some areas.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC), along with other unions, has vowed to fight the new strike curbs at every step of the way, including through parliament and the courts. 

TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak labelled the new bill ‘spiteful’, as well as ‘unworkable and almost certainly illegal’.

“These draconian new curbs will tilt the balance of power even more in favour of bad bosses and make it harder for people to win better pay and conditions,” he said.

“Nobody should lose their job if they take lawful action to win a better deal. But ministers have gone from clapping our key workers to threatening them with the sack.”

His words echo those of Keir Starmer during PMQs today, when he accused the government of going from ‘clapping nurses to sacking the nurses’.

The TUC have encouraged the government to follow the example of employers in the private sector who have sat down with unions and agreed fair pay deals.

Their recent polling published last year revealed that 1 in 3 public servants were taking active steps to leave their professions and that, if the government does not improve its pay offer for public servants, public sector pay will fall on average by over £100 a month in real terms in 2023. 

Other campaigns against the legislation have also gained traction, with an open letter to the Prime Minister urging him to withdraw the bill now signed by over 900,000 workers.

The letter tells Rishi Sunak that, should he proceed with the bill, he will face the determined opposition of workers.

It states: “We aim to build a mass movement of millions to defeat your plans.”

The announcement of a ‘protect the right to strike’ day comes following a meeting of trade union leaders yesterday. 

The day of action is planned for Wednesday 1st February with events set to take place across the country, with more information to be provided in the coming weeks.

Hannah Davenport is trade union reporter at Left Foot Forward

(Photo credit: Hannah Davenport)

Left Foot Forward’s trade union reporting is supported by the Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust

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