The UK trade union movement has been angered by the government’s rushed draft legislation to impose minimum service levels on public service strikers. The government claims it is bringing the UK into line with countries like Italy and Spain but fails to acknowledge the different systems in those countries that guarantee the right to strike and impose no requirements on balloting for industrial action. The UK legislation, if passed, would not ensure that trade unions can negotiate minimum service levels and would allow employers to dismiss workers who failed to comply with the requirement to work. Meanwhile, strikes across the public services continue with further action by the RCN nursing union and action planned by ambulance staff represented by UNISON, GMB and Unite. UNISON members also took strike action in the Environment Agency and National Institute for Health Care Excellence. The PCS civil service union is planning for full strike across central government on 1 February to coincide with the day of action against the strike law called by the TUC confederation.
Unions mobilise against government’s anti-strike law
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A ballot for strike action carried out by civil service union PCS has produced a massive majority (86%) in favour of strike action over pay. However, the vote is invalid because of restrictions on public sector strike action introduced two years ago by the Conservative, centre-right government. Under the rules public service unions need to achieve a 50% turnout in the ballot and on this occasion it was 41.6%. This was the highest majority and highest turnout for a strike ballot in the union's history. PCS will use the high majority for action to strengthen its pay campaign. It is also
The TEHY and SuPer nurses’ trade unions have condemned the new law that imposes tougher requirements on industrial action in the care sector. Despite the law, further action as part of the unions’ continuing campaign to secure higher pay took place on 27 September and the unions are determined to pursue their claims with SuPer considering declaring mass resignations in home care. The unions also point out that existing legislation already regulated strike action and so the new law imposes a further burden that targets the care sector specifically. They also argue that, in contrast to the rules