SoR members encouraged to join rally against ‘draconian’ anti-strike laws

Society joins Trade Unions Congress for protest rally in Cheltenham over the government’s legislation to restrict workers’ rights

Published: 15 January 2024 Trade Union & IR

The Society of Radiographers has encouraged its members to join a protest rally against anti-strike laws, due to be held later this month.

SoR and the Trade Unions Congress (TUC) will be participating in a rally in Cheltenham in protest against the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels Act), which was introduced by the government last year.

To encourage members to join the rally, the SoR will cover the cost of travel for some members. Those wishing to attend from further afield can also book a place on the TUC-organised coaches. 

The march will be taking place on 27 January at Montpellier Gardens, Cheltenham starting at 12pm, to protect the right to strike for British workers.

The Strikes Act will force workers in certain sectors to attend work even when those workers lawfully vote to strike – with noncompliant workers being sacked. This law could curtail the right to strike for one in five workers.

'Draconian legislation'

Leandre Archer, the SoR’s head of industrial relations, said: “The introduction of the draconian minimum service legislation in 2023 means when members vote for strike action and meet the legally imposed thresholds, they could still be prevented from taking industrial action.

“This legislation is a mechanism to stop workers from being able to exert their right to remove their labour. We know that making the decision to go on strike is always the last resort and comes when negotiations have completely broken down. We must continue to fight against this legislation as there are plans in place to include the healthcare sector and SoR members would be directly affected.”

In 2023, SoR members took industrial action in England because of poor pay and working conditions in the NHS. The SoR remains in dispute with the government on NHS pay in England and Northern Ireland. 

'Chronic workforce issues'

Ms Archer explained this law will make any further action even more difficult to organise and be effective, as members could be asked to return to work or be sacked if they take strike action.

She added: “The government’s rhetoric is that this legislation protects services, but we all know that health services should be protected every day and that the funding should be put into dealing with the chronic workforce issues that affect our membership. I would ask that SoR members attend this rally and come out to support us in our campaign to protect the right to strike.”

The SoR will have representatives attending the Cheltenham rally, and will cover the cost of travel for members travelling from the South West and the Midlands - the cost of travel for those from other regions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. 

To find out more and to register your interest, visit the event page here.

The SoR has recently been involved in a host of strike action, in protest against working conditions in the health service, both in England and the Northern Ireland.

A generalised day of action will take place this week in Northern Irelandon Thursday, 18 January, in protest of the poor pay faced by radiographers in the region – which stands far below pay for equivalent positions in England, Scotland and Wales.

(Image: TUC strike May 2023, by Hesther Ng/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)