Rishi Sunak is facing a backlash from unions following plans to pursue laws that will infringe upon workers’ rights to strike.
A report in The Guardian has revealed the government’s claims that the goal of the legislation is to ensure “minimum service levels” in essential public sectors, including the NHS.
With plans to introduce the laws within the coming weeks, it would enable bosses across many public sectors to fire employees and pursue legal action against unions, if minimum service levels are not being fulfilled. Employers could also seek injunctions to prevent strike action and see compensation following industrial action.
The plans were first conceived under Liz Truss’s government and will see minimum service levels requirements applied to all blue-light services, amid concerns that strike action in those sectors could cause a serious risk to the public.
It has been confirmed by government sources that if union members are instructed by their employers to work, in line with the minimum service levels, and refuse, they could face dismissal.
Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, has said on Twitter: “Industrial action is disruptive for all – from those relying on vital services for work, to those caring for their family. Meanwhile businesses suffer. Government is doing all it can to avoid prolonged strikes & will introduce Minimum Safety Levels.”
The Guardian recently reported: “…the government has admitted its approach of using minimum service levels to curb strikes could backfire.”
Meanwhile, the RCN has slammed the legislation as being “undemocratic”, and The Times has reported that Pat Cullen is willing to negotiate and compromise on a new pay deal, with the possibility of reducing their demands from a 19% raise down to 10%.