SoR welcomes Welsh government's opposition to UK anti-strikes legislation

'An extreme attack on basic rights', the Society warns

Published: 03 February 2023 Trade Union & IR

The SoR has welcomed moves by the Welsh government and Plaid Cymru to defeat the anti-strike legislation now passing through the UK parliament.

The Strike (Minimum Service Levels) Bill enables the implementation of minimum service levels in the health service, and five other public sectors, by government ministers during industrial action.

Employers would be able to issue work notices identifying staff required to work, and those staff would lose protection from unfair dismissal if they refused to do so. The Bill also removes protections for trade unions from legal action if they fail to ensure minimum service levels.

The Bill is due to begin its second reading in the House of Lords on 21 February, when members will be able to debate the key principles and flag up specific areas where they think changes are needed.

MPs from Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru parties are backing each others' amendments to prevent the legislation taking effect in Wales.

'Assault on workers' rights'

A statement from the SoR said: “The SoR welcomes the early clarification from the Welsh government and Plaid Cymru that they will not be joining in the English government’s assault on workers rights under the guise of the Strike (Minimum Service Levels) Bill.

"This recognises a more mature social partnership approach to supporting the NHS and patients in Wales, including unions’ existing and long-established commitment to protecting patients even during any industrial action.

"It also calls out the Bill for what it is – an extreme attack on basic rights which include an ability to withdraw labour as a last resort.”

Read more and follow the progress of the Strike (Minimum Service Levels) Bill.