What does a Tory Government do to divert attention from its own failings?
It finds a scapegoat to attack and demonise.
Sometimes it is Europe, sometimes it is migrants.
This time it is ordinary working people.
So it is with their new Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill.
During Covid they clapped our health workers on the doorsteps; now they want to clap them in irons.
🔥 @MhairiBlack: “If your day is disrupted by someone not turning up to their job, then it just goes to show how crucial that person’s job is, and why their pay and their conditions should reflect that.” pic.twitter.com/D1qHwLcMCf
— The SNP (@theSNP) January 16, 2023
Normal human rights throughout Europe mean that people can go on strike to defend their pay and conditions of service, and they are protected against unfair dismissal for taking such action.
Even Thatcher ensured that level of protection, but this new bill goes much further than Thatcher ever dared go.
Companies will be empowered to issue ‘work notices’ which instruct employees to carry on working against their will.
There would be no proper arbitration or appeal process and those notices could be forced on Scottish workers at the whim of a Tory minister in London.
Like elsewhere in Europe, emergency services unions such as Health and Fire & Rescue operate ‘Life and Limb’ cover for during strikes.
They do this willingly and in cooperation with local management. That cooperation is now to be replaced by coercion.
UK Union legislation is already among the strictest in Europe.
🔥 @StephenFlynnSNP eviscerates Tory plans to deny working people’s right to strike for fair pay, while at the same time Tory MPs are raking in millions from second jobs.
— The SNP (@theSNP) January 11, 2023
Normal human rights throughout Europe mean that people can go on strike to defend their pay and conditions of service, and they are protected against unfair dismissal for taking such action. Even Thatcher ensured that level of protection, but this new bill goes much further than Thatcher ever dared go.Chris Stephens MP
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) – with 45 million members across 41 countries – says that this new law would “put the UK outside the mainstream”.
The United States Secretary of Labour, Secretary Marty Walsh spoke for the Biden administration in saying “I would not support anything which takes away from workers”.
Mick Lynch, head of the RMT transport union, said the “draconian legislation” sought to “punish workers” for demanding decent pay and working conditions.
STUC General Secretary, Roz Foyer stated, “The right to strike is a fundamental pillar of a healthy democracy and any assault on it must be opposed”.
Keith Ewing, Professor of Public Law at Kings College Lodon and Lord John Hendy KC, Chair of the Institute of Employment Rights said the “Government’s proposals to force transport unions to effectively break their own strikes may go against legally binding post-Brexit trade agreements”.
It is clear that the world is looking on anxiously at what is happening in this broken UK.
🚨 The shameful Tory anti-trade union laws must be stopped.
🤝 While @scotgov works hard to negotiate fair pay deals, Rishi Sunak’s government is too busy attacking workers.
🏴 Let’s build a fairer future with independence. pic.twitter.com/nMZxbjxXe4
— The SNP (@theSNP) January 12, 2023
When the Tories talk about ‘Taking Back Control’, what they really mean is taking control from ordinary people and putting it in the hands of the Westminster Government.
Their new bill would put aside local negotiations on ‘Life and Limb’ cover during strikes, and it would allow a single UK Minister to overrule Scottish legislation at a stroke of a pen.
Devolution itself is at stake here.
But we have a different and better approach in Scotland.
This Bill runs counter to our Scottish Government’s Fair Work principles of an effective voice, fulfilment, opportunity, respect and security. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has promised to fight the bill “every step of the way”.
The Scottish Fair Work Minister, Richard Lochhead, said “It is our long-standing position that a progressive approach to industrial relations along with greater – not fewer – protections for workers is at the heart of a fairer, more successful society.”
The Labour leader Keir Starmer has claimed he would repeal the legislation if his party won the next General Election.
Tony Blair made similar promises about Thatcher’s anti -union legislation, and his party failed to deliver through 18 years in office.
Ordinary workers in Scotland cannot trust London politicians to protect their human rights.
That requires the powers and authority we will get though Scottish Independence.
🏴 In an independent Scotland, the government would play an active role in shaping a labour market that enhances worker’s rights.
An independent Scotland would:
👷 Scrap anti-trade union laws.
🛑 Ban fire and rehire.
💷 Increase statutory sick pay and parental leave pic.twitter.com/PyNdHGD46T
— Yes (@YesScot) October 17, 2022