Government introduces new “anti-striking laws” to be discussed in Parliament
The Government introduced the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill into Parliament on 10 January 2023. If brought into force, the bill will impose further restrictions on workers and unions in certain sectors intending to strike.
The bill requires a “minimum level of service” whereby employers can issue a “work notice” stating which workforce they need. The effect of this is that employees named on the work notice lose their right to protection from unfair dismissal if they go on strike.
The aim of the bill is to help reduce the amount of disruption to the public caused by staff striking. However, the bill has been criticised as significantly curtailing the right of workers to strike, and Labour have already indicated that, if the bill is made into law, they will repeal the new measures if they are elected into government.
The bill will impact the NHS, transport, education, fire and rescue, nuclear decommissioning and border security sectors and comes following the recent increase in industrial action taken.
The proposed “anti-strike laws” are in the early stages; the bill has only just been introduced into Parliament to be debated. However, if introduced, the proposed laws would significantly reduce the right of workers to strike in the impacted sectors and provide greater control to employers. The measures would likely reduce the number of strikes that take place in future in the affected sectors but exacerbate already strained employee relations.