Anti-strike bill: Over 100 politicians from around the world urge government to abandon new law

'The UK government is set on further rolling back worker protections and freedoms'

Strike Bill

Over 120 politicians from 18 countries have called on the UK government to drop its proposed anti-strike bill, as well as rejecting ministers’ attempts to draw comparisons with international law.

As the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill heads to the report stage in the House of Lords tomorrow, politicians from around the world issued a joint statement today blasting the UK government for attempting to roll back workers’ protections and freedoms.

Politicians from countries including Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and Spain also slammed the rhetoric used by UK ministers who have repeatedly compared the proposed Bill as emulating legislation in France, Italy and Spain.

They went on to highlight the UK’s position already as an outlier when it comes to democratic trade union rights compared to the rest of the world.

Those who signed the statement include former Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte and former Italian labour secretary Andrea Orlando and politicians from the Australian Labor Party and Spain’s coalition government parties – PSOE and Unidas Podemos.

In their joint statement, the politicians said: “We reject the UK government’s attempt to limit workers’ rights and its attempt to justify it with comparisons to international norms.

“The UK already has some of the most draconian restrictions on trade unions anywhere in the democratic world and workers in the UK are faced with disproportionate regulatory hurdles before participation in a strike can be considered legal.

“Despite this, the UK government is set on further rolling back worker protections and freedoms.

“The right to strike is guaranteed in international law by a succession of important treaties.

“The ability for people to collectively withdraw their labour is a fundamental right in a democratic society.

“We support the Trades Union Congress in calling on the UK government to abandon this bill.”

The politicians warned of the ‘new top-down powers’ being sought by the Tory government, to allow them to impose ‘an arbitrary level of service’.

The Bill seeks to impose a minimum level of service during strike action in certain industries and could lead to striking workers being sacked or unions being sued if levels are not met.

It has faced widespread condemnation and criticism from other European trade unions, civil liberties organisations and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress, Paul Nowak, added that the bill is, “undemocratic, unworkable and almost certainly illegal”.

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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