Breaking: Independent watchdog slams government assessment of Strikes Bill as “not fit for purpose”

Government-appointed body gives ministers the red card on Strikes Bill

Strike Bill

The government’s independent watchdog has slammed an impact assessment for the anti-strike laws as “not fit for purpose” and issued it a red card.

The Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) gave the damning analysis of the government’s Minimum Service Levels Bill’s impact assessment today, as the anti-strike legislation begins its passage through the House of Lords.

Ahead of the publication of the legislation’s impact assessment which is due to be published imminently, the RPC issued it a Red rating citing an, ‘insufficient assessment of the impacts of the Bill on small and micro businesses’.

The RPC stated: “While the analysis that is included in the IA is clearly set out, the Department makes use of assumptions in the analysis which are not supported by evidence.

“We would expect the Department to provide a more detailed description of the affected sectors and the costs to trade unions alongside secondary legislation.

“In addition, it is not clear that the IA considers all of the impacts of the new requirements that will be introduced via the Bill.”

The Bill, which would give employers the power to sack workers who vote to strike under minimum service levels regulation, has been rapidly pushed through parliament.

Made up of independent experts, the committee also said the government department had failing to follow its own policy for the timely submission of an IA for scrutiny.

The TUC has accused the government of ducking scrutiny and ‘shortcutting’ normal scrutiny procedures.

Paul Nowak, TUC General Secretary said it was telling that the government’s own independent watchdog gave the bill a red card.

Nowak said: “Ministers are trying to keep parliamentarians and the public in the dark about this draconian legislation – which is a direct attack on our fundamental right to strike.

“Ministers must come clean about the true nature of this nasty Bill. They must not be allowed to duck scrutiny.”

Health, fire and rescue, education, transport, border security and nuclear installation services would be affected by the legislation.

European Trade Unions representing more than 20 million workers recently issued a joint statement condemning the government’s anti-strike legislation.

They said further restrictions on the right to strike will ‘only drag the UK further away from democratic norms, risk violating international law, and tarnish its international reputation.’

Hannah Davenport is trade union reporter at Left Foot Forward

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

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