Dr Rosena Allin-Khan refuses to answer if she would go on strike
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is planning to introduce new anti-strike laws in the coming weeks to require bosses in public sectors including health, education, and rail services to meet minimum service levels to reduce the disruption of industrial action. The legislation has been backed by 65 percent of Express.co.uk readers in a recent poll.
In a statement released on Thursday, January 5, the government said the bill would be put before MPs in the coming weeks to ensure a certain percentage of employees continue to work on strike days.
Mr Sunak said the new law was an “entirely reasonable” way to balance the freedom to strike with “the right of ordinary working people to go about their lives free from significant disruption”.
Business Secretary Grant Shapps said: “As well as protecting the freedom to strike, the government must also protect life and livelihoods. While we hope that voluntary agreements can continue to be made in most cases, introducing minimum safety levels – the minimum levels of service we expect to be provided – will restore the balance between those seeking to strike and protecting the public from disproportionate disruption.”
Government sources have said plans in the original bill, drawn by Jacob Rees-Mogg, to introduce tougher thresholds for industrial action would be dropped amid legal concerns.
READ MORE: Public back ban on walkouts by essential workers as more strikes loom
Rishi Sunak ‘absolutely’ should enforce anti-strike legislation, poll shows
In a poll that ran from 11am on Wednesday, January 4, to 11.30am on Monday, January 9, Express.co.uk asked readers: “Should Rishi Sunak introduce anti-strike laws as industrial action continues?”
Overall, 4,535 people responded with the majority of readers, 65 percent (2,960 people) answering “yes” in support of anti-strike legislation.
Whereas 34 percent (1,545 people) said “no” against restrictions, and a further one percent (30 people) said they did not know either way.
Hundreds of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers shared their thoughts on anti-strike laws.
Royal College of Nursing members will strike again on January 18 and 19
Many readers argued in favor of anti-strike legislation, with one, username charliekat, writing: “Any strike that affects the public should be illegal.”
Similarly, username peter mendes agreed that the public sector should be a “strike-free zone”.
Another, username justmy2cents said: “Absolutely, yes! When it comes to functions critical for the nation to work, we as a country also have the right to protect ourselves for the benefit of the many.”
And username SanjayP wrote: “If you are employed to serve the public sector, then it should be difficult to go on strike.”
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Minimum service levels could be introduced across the public sector
Rishi Sunak vowed to deliver “peace of mind” to the public as he promised to get Britain back on track.
The Prime Minister pledged to restore “optimism, hope and pride in Britain” as the country rebuilds from the wreckage of the Covid pandemic and cost of living crisis.
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Meanwhile, username oak said: “Yes, as soon as possible. It’s time the unions were scrapped.”
And username Malt added: “Total strikes should be banned or restricted without at least a percentage working.”
However, other readers commented that anti-strike laws should not be enforced in Britain. Username leafspot said: “No, absolutely not. Workers need to protest and fight for their working rights.”
And username Deano206 said: “No he shouldn’t, everyone should have the right to take strike action!”
While username Fedupandbored said: “If they start taking away our right to strike, how many other of our democratic rights will they take away from us?”
Likewise, username PAULY wrote: “Be very careful what you wish for, if you take away the right to strike, you are giving away more of our rights and freedom.”
And username rjh500 added: “I concede the strikes now are not good but take the worker’s rights away and you go back 200 years.”
Sharon Graham, the general secretary of the Unite union, said: “Yet again, Rishi Sunak abdicates his responsibility as a leader. Whatever the latest scheme the government comes up with to attack us, unions will continue to defend workers.”
Sir Keir Starmer said he would repeal anti-trade union legislation
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said he would repeal anti-trade union legislation, saying after his New Year speech: “I don’t think this legislation is going to work. I’m pretty sure they’d had an assessment that tells them that it is likely to make a bad situation worse.
“We will look at what they bring forward but if it’s further restrictions then we would repeal it. The reason for that is that I do not think legislation is the way you bring an end to a dispute.”
Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said last week that new anti-strike laws would only worsen relations with striking workers.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The idea that the way to improve industrial relations is banning industrial action is just for the birds.”