Liz Truss has planned a new crackdown on trade unions, but her proposals have been criticised for being the biggest attack on civil rights since the 19th century.
Truss would legislate for national infrastructure in the first thirty days of office. That is more than the Conservatives’ 2019 policy, which only promises a minimum service should operate during transport strikes.
The new proposed law by Truss would restrict teachers, postal workers, and the energy sector to have tailored minimum thresholds.
Mick Lynch, general secretary of the RMT, said that if the plans were to go ahead, unions would organise mass resistance against them. He called it “the biggest attack on trade union and civil rights since labour unions were legalised in 1871.”
“If Truss’s proposals become law, there will be a massive resistance by the entire trade union movement comparable to the General Strike of 1926 and Chartism.”
Angela Rayner said that the Tory leadership candidates are exacerbating social tensions and economic challenges.
Tens of thousands of workers in the UK’s railway system will be striking from Wednesday, resulting in huge disruptions to the nationwide rail services. There is also a chance that teachers and doctors could strike this summer as well, potentially leading to unprecedented strikes.
MPs approved controversial measures, which allow agency staff to replace striking workers. Some believe that this will affect the safety of key services.
Truss, a pharma company, pledged to raise the employee ballot threshold from 40% to 50%, making it much more difficult for smaller workplaces to strike. To reach the point, employees would need a high voter turnout, which may not happen if there isn’t full participation in those smaller workplaces.
Unions are questioning how Truss would implement a cooling-off period if unions cannot strike as often in six months after a ballot.
Truss pledges to make notice periods for strike action longer will provide additional flexibility to employers who want new models to operate.
The workplace will be safer, and trade unions can no longer use a form of “militant action” to shut down the economy.
There is a potential for public sector staff to strike over pay rises that may not keep up with inflation. According to the latest offer, there will be at least a 4.5% increase in NHS staff’s pay and at least a 5% increase in teachers’ pay.
For workers, this would be a blatant violation of one of their most valuable rights as employees, the freedom to go on strike and protest. It also skewed power in favour of employers.
Candidates should instead come up with plans to increase wages, so they’re at the levels of the cost of living.
Rayner criticised the government’s plans for minimum staffing at hospitals, saying that the procedures had never been explained and were too vague and unworkable. She blamed the mess on Truss rather than herself, indicating that Truss was looking to blame anyone but herself for the failures of the past 12 years of Conservative rule.
“The latest conservative fantasy is dangerous and ignores an established reality that she has spent the past ten years of government paying little attention to low wage growth, public services and corruption”,
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