Workers protest anti-strike bill

Union workers protesting the anti-strike bill described it as a “terrible attack” on workers’ rights and said the Government was acting like a “dictator”.

Members of the various unions that organized themselves through the Enough Is Enough campaign gathered outside the Commerce Secretary Grant Shapps’ constituency office in Welwyn Garden City on Saturday.

They want the government to shelve plans to pass a law that would restrict the right to strike by imposing minimum service levels.

Mr Shapps submitted the Strikes (Minimum Levels of Service) Bill to Parliament last week, which will be discussed at its second reading on Monday.

James Broach, a college teacher, UCU member, and Labor Assembly member, said: “I think it’s important to stand up for frontline workers who have been the lifeline for this country for so many years and who have been completely ripped off by the Government in terms of the workforce. and they deserve so much more.

“And the fact that a new law is coming to Parliament very soon that says you risk losing your job if you go on strike is terrible, it’s not an issue that will turn into a country like the UK.

James Broach, UCU member and Labor Councilor at Hatfield

UCU member and Labor Assembly member James Broach called the bill a “terrible attack” on workers’ rights (Danny Halpin/PA)

“Going from losing a day’s pay to potentially losing your livelihood, this is a horrific attack on workers’ right to stand up and fight for themselves.

“It makes me sick that the government thinks it can legislate and just says, ‘We’ll fire you if you don’t go and do your job’ and some of these rules around these minimum service levels, which I think the suspect will be set to an appropriate height to prevent as many workers from going on strike as possible.

“This is the behavior you would expect from a dictator. If someone like Putin passes such a law, you wouldn’t be surprised to see it come out of such a regime, but I would be shocked if it came out of the mouth of a British Prime Minister.”

Enough is Enough members also held protests outside the offices of Conservative MPs Chris Green in Bolton, Ian Levy in Blyth Valley, and Damien Moore in Southport.

A larger protest was held outside Parliament on Monday, and a petition against the new law garnered nearly 160,000 signatures.

The Labor Party said it would shelve the Strike Act when it next comes to power.

Dave Barnes, Network Rail employee and TSSA union representative

Dave Barnes, Network Rail employee and TSSA union representative, outside Grant Shapps’ constituency office in Welwyn Garden City, London (Danny Halpin/PA)

Dave Barnes, who works for Network Rail and is TSSA’s national representative, said unions could be sued and workers fired if they fail to meet minimum service levels.

The minimum level of service will be a specification that has not yet been declared and therefore can be any scope and this means that the employer will have to determine who must work to meet this minimum. level of service and then entitlement of named persons to be required to come to work on a strike day.

“So you can vote for industrial action to pull your labor back and your employer will say you, not your co-worker, must come to work to break that strike, and your union will have to get you to come. go to work and break this strike.

He also said that companies already hire non-union staff to maintain services on strike days, adding: “For example, Network Rail was paying 200% of your regular salary, plus a day off for contract workers in striker roles.

“So while they say they don’t have the money for a reasonable salary increase, they don’t have a limit on money they would give contract workers to cover a strike.

We don’t believe it’s about money, it’s not about productivity, it’s not about taking care of public services, it’s about reclaiming the right to strike.”

A government spokesperson said: “We must ensure the safety of the public, so we are introducing minimum levels of service and safety across various sectors to ensure that lives and livelihoods are not lost.”

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