Three things you need to know about the anti-strike bill

The UK sees record levels of strike action as ambulance workers, nurses, transport workers and teachers take a stand against the crisis in our public services.

Yet, rather than engaging with the people who keep our country running, or finding solutions to staffing shortages and waiting lists, the government is intent on punishing frontline workers when they speak out.

UNISON believes that the new anti-strike bill, named the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill, is a full-frontal attack on working people and the trade unions they organise within. It seeks to drastically curtail labour rights in Great Britain and allows employers to sack the people whose hard work and goodwill our public services depend on.

Three things all UNISON members need to know

Here are the three things all UNISON members need to know about this new legislation, which begins its journey through parliament on 16 January:

  1. Minimum service levels 

The bill will grant the government powers to set ‘minimum service levels’ for six key public services: health; fire and rescue; education; transport; decommissioning of nuclear installations and management of radioactive waste and spent fuel; and border security.

2. Work notices

The bill will hand a new strike-breaking tool to employers: work notices.

If workers in any one of the six listed public services have voted for industrial action, the employer would have a right to serve the union with a ‘work notice’ specifying the number of people required to work, and the work to be performed during the strike in order to meet the ‘minimum service level’ imposed by the government.

3. Removal of protection for striking workers

If a work notice requires that an employee works during a strike, they could be sacked if they refuse.

This is because the bill removes key protections from individual workers exercising their rights to strike. Frontline workers will face dismissal for taking part in lawful industrial action.

Read the full article here.