Friday, March 31, 2023

UK MPs To Vote On Major Strike Action Amid Disruptions

MPs will vote on new anti-strike legislation tonight, as the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill is due to go through…

By Editorial , in Latest , at January 31, 2023

MPs will vote on new anti-strike legislation tonight, as the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill is due to go through the final stages in the House of Commons. If passed tonight, the bill will go to the House of Lords for consideration. The move comes as the UK continues to be rocked by strikes across a range of critical sectors, with a strike by firefighters previously announced.

Firefighters across the UK today voted in favor of strike action in a pay dispute.

More than 80% of Fire Brigades’ Union members who voted backed the strike in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in last month’s ballot.

Firefighters said the military would be called in if the strike continues, including in Northern Ireland.

Matt Wrack, union general secretary, said firefighters were being forced to act because “they have faced a sustained attack on wages for over a decade”.

But he said government and local authority employers can prevent strikes from happening by “making a credible offer”, adding: “The ball is in their court”.

The legislation, introduced earlier this month, will set “minimum safety levels” for several industries, limiting their ability to carry out industrial actions.

The government has denied the laws will remove the right to strike, with Business Secretary Grant Shapps saying ministers “absolutely believe in the right to strike”.

But he added that the government had a “duty” to protect the lives and livelihoods of the public.

He continues: “We don’t want to use this legislation but we have to keep the British public safe. »

Trades Union Congress leader Paul Nowak said if the bill becomes law it would “prolong disputes and poison industrial relations – leading to more frequent strikes”.

He added: “This legislation would mean that when workers vote democratically to strike, they can be forced to work and fired if they don’t.

“It is undemocratic, unenforceable, and almost certainly illegal. »

Sir Keir Starmer has said he will repeal the legislation if Labor comes to power.

The Labor leader said: “I don’t think this legislation is going to work and I’m pretty sure they’ve had an assessment that tells them that. It is likely to make a bad situation worse.”

He said his party will assess any proposals the government puts forward, continuing: “But if it’s new restrictions, then we will repeal it.”

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