Anti-Strike Law: UK: Fighting Signs

Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union want to use strikes to achieve higher wages, safer jobs and better working conditions in the public sector.

Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire/dpa

Class struggle must be waged from above: Weakening trade unions is a key political goal of the British Tories. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak presents himself as a worthy successor to the “Iron Lady” Margaret Thatcher. His government’s bill on minimum service levels in six key sectors, due to be voted on in parliament next week, is intended to put pressure on strikes in case of strikes. Thus, public life should not be disrupted by strikes. They lose part of the most effective means of pressuring unions in disputes. The Act also undermines trade union autonomy. It empowers the government to unilaterally impose service levels to be maintained during industrial action if unions fail to reach prior agreement with so-called employers. Union members must also be ordered to work despite strikes, and those who refuse will be fired in the future.

Unions are protesting against the plan. Labor makes early campaign pledge to repeal anti-strike bill We will see. With tougher rules, conservatives are taking revenge for the massive wave of strikes the country is experiencing. It is no coincidence that areas such as health, education and transport, where violent labor disputes take place, are also covered by the law. Be it railways, public service or healthcare: Disputes are not an end, but a necessity. Very low real wages leave unions with no choice. Given the alarming rise in the cost of living, for many Britons strikes are nothing more than self-defense – a basic right.

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