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UK government anti-strike bill destroys civil liberties, Labor says

The Labor Party on Monday accused the British government of destroying centuries of civil liberties as ministers introduced new legislation in parliament that would blunt the effects of industrial action by public sector workers.

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said many lawmakers in the ruling Conservative Party believe in civil liberties principles, but “with this bill they want the freedoms we’ve been fighting for for centuries. It’s burning,” he said.

A bill mandating a minimum service level during strikes is the worst in decades as nurses and ambulance staff, railroad and postal workers, and civil servants demand higher wages to protect themselves from a surge in livelihoods. government response to industrial action. cost.

The bill passed a second reading in Congress on Monday night, with MPs supporting the bill by a majority of 60 votes, 309 to 249.

Business secretary Grant Shaps said the approach was “balanced, rational and above all fair.” He added that some Western countries have gone further and outright banned blue-light service workers from striking.

Strike now set to spread statewide education After the NEU Teachers’ Union secured powers to take action in 23,400 schools in England and Wales and set a seven-day date for national and regional strikes.

The Royal College of Nursing also stepped up its campaign on nurses’ salaries on Monday, and if no progress is made in negotiations with ministers by the end of the month, new disputes across England and Wales will be announced on 6 and 7 February. A schedule of action was set.

The proposed bill would force nominated employees in key sectors to continue working during the strike. dismayed trade unionsThey say it will have a “chilling effect” on workers’ willingness to exercise their right to strike.

It has also been criticized by employment lawyers, who say it may be impractical, and employers’ groups, who say it could simply prolong disputes.

“There’s no mistake about it. This is undemocratic, unworkable and probably illegal,” said the general secretary of the trade union conference, who is preparing to challenge the bill in court when it becomes law. As one Paul Nowak said,

The bill gives ministers broad powers to set requirements for a very wide range of services.

The government will use the bill, after public consultation, to impose minimum service levels on ambulance, fire and rail services. It can also set requirements for education, border security, nuclear decommissioning, and other transport and medical services in the absence of voluntary agreements.

Employment law expert Darren Newman said cabinet ministers have so broad powers that “they could apply to steam trains going to Snowdonia if the government wanted to.”

Even employers fear the law will force them to nominate individuals who must work to ensure a minimum service.

Rail industry executives say it could effectively ban certain individuals from striking in areas such as signaling, where a small number of staff are essential to the operation of the network.

The TUC calls the bill “harsh” and says individuals risk dismissal if they ignore it and walk away, and risk punitive fines if they fail to force union members to cross the picket line. .

But Neumann said employers are unlikely to fire staff who don’t show up as requested.

It will also be difficult to sue trade unions for damages, as the effects of strikes in the NHS or schools, for example, will be felt largely by the general public rather than by the economic loss of employers.

The government has been criticized for failing to produce an impact assessment of the new law by an independent watchdog that scrutinizes regulatory quality. The Regulatory Policy Committee on Monday said the department is expected to produce an IA “before relevant bills are submitted to Congress.”

Experts say there are significant differences from similar laws in France, Spain and Italy, but ministers cite minimum service requirements for other countries.

However, the TUC said the bill’s central problem was that “complaints cannot be enacted into law.”

Neil Carberry, president of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, said the strike law should aim to “steer and resolve” conflicts. Otherwise, they risk leading to “wildcat action, poor service, and the emergence of unaffiliated, more problematic groups than unions,” he said.

https://www.ft.com/content/b4440533-9a0b-4693-bf86-8ec960cf4bf4 UK government anti-strike bill destroys civil liberties, Labor says

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