Sweeping new powers to curb strike disruptions approved by MPs

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 30: Hundreds of union members take part in a rally called by Enough is Enough to protest against legislation restricting the right to strike at Downing Street on January 30, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Guy Smallman/Getty Images)

Protesters gathered to spread the message ‘enough is enough’ (Image: Guy Smallman/Getty Images)

Huge protests have taken place in response to a new law aimed at curbing strike breaking in the UK.

Mass strikes took place amid a “winter of discontent” in which thousands demanded better wages and working conditions.

Teachers, train drivers, civil servants, university lecturers, bus drivers and security guards from seven unions march out on Wednesday – the biggest day of industrial action in more than a decade.

But the government’s new strike law could hamper the future of industrial action.

The controversial proposals aim to ensure minimum labor standards during strike days in six sectors, including health and transport.

The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill cleared the House of Commons in a Monday night session, with MPs voting 315 to 246, a majority of 69.

Labor Deputy Leader Angela Rayner said Labor would repeal it if the party came to power.

She added: “It threatens to lay off key workers during a labor shortage and crisis, launches an open assault on workers’ fundamental freedoms and is doing absolutely nothing to resolve the crisis at hand.

Demonstrators outside Downing Street, London, demonstrate against the new Strike Law. Picture date: Monday January 30, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story INDUSTRY Strikes. Photo credit should read: Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire

The new law will curb disruption caused by industrial action (Image: PA)

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Vuk Valcic/ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock (13747988c) Members of various unions and supporters held a rally outside Downing Street to protest the UK Government's new legislation aimed at curbing strikes and protests in the UK to restrict. Enough is enough anti-strike laws protest outside Downing St, London, England, UK - 30th January 2023

A group gathered outside Downing Street last night to protest the right to strike (Credit Image: Vuk Valcic/ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock)

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Hesther Ng/SOPA Images/Shutterstock (13748135u) Protesters and members of various unions in the UK seen during the Enough is Enough protests. A protest called by various British unions took place outside Downing Street in response to the ongoing debate on the Anti-Strike and Public Order Bills in the House of Commons. These bills threaten civilians' rights to protest and strike. Enough is enough protest in London, UK - January 30, 2023

Labor says the new law is “shabby and unenforceable” (Photo: Hesther Ng/SOPA Images/Shutterstock)

“Let’s look at what’s really at stake: a government that is playing politics with the lives of key workers because it can’t stand negotiations, a government that is lashing out at working people instead of dealing with their 13 years of failure, and a government and prime minister dangerously overwhelmed and afraid of scrutiny.

“We in these benches will vote against this shoddy, unenforceable bill.”

A large group protested the law outside Downing Street last night, many carrying signs criticizing Rishi Sunak’s government.

Yesterday Business Secretary Grant Shapps claimed the law “simply proposes to protect people’s lives and protect their livelihoods”.

Protesters march towards Downing Street against the Minimum Service Levels During Strikes Act during the nurses' strike on Tottenham Court Road, London. Picture date: Wednesday January 18, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story INDUSTRY Strikes. Photo credit should read: Zac Goodwin/PA Wire

Nurses march towards Downing Street amid strikes earlier this month (Image: PA)

People gather on the Mound in central Edinburgh to highlight the need for Scottish teachers to be paid fairly as teachers continue to strike amid a dispute over pay. Picture date: Wednesday January 25, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story INDUSTRY Strikes. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Union members in Edinburgh went on strike to highlight the need for a fair wage deal for Scotland’s teachers (Image: PA)


Further industrial action is planned in several sectors this week (Image: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

In a brief speech he added: “We are postponing this debate tonight and this third reading because we care about the people in our workforce, because we care about their livelihoods and because we care about our constituents and their access to vital ones services.”

His comments come as Jacob Rees-Mogg has warned it will be subject to legal challenges unless drastically changed.

The Conservative former Business Secretary backed the bill in the House of Commons but said it was “poorly written” and criticized the sweeping powers it gives to his successor, Grant Shapps.

Mr Rees-Mogg called on ministers to allow the House of Lords to amend the law to add detail, claiming it would mean it was “much less susceptible to judicial scrutiny”.

He told the Commons: “I’m a supporter of this law, I think it’s a good law and a fair law, but it’s a poorly written law.”

Yesterday in the House of Commons, MPs from Wales and Scotland tried to exclude the decentralized nations from the purview of the bill.

Labor MP for the Cynon Valley, Beth Winter, urged MPs to back their attempts to prevent the bill from applying to Wales, while SNP MP Alan Brown tabled an amendment aimed at “making clear that these powers of Henry VIII should not be renewed and do not extend”. to the decentralized legislation”.

An SNP-backed amendment designed to ensure the bill would not come into force without the approval of the Welsh and Scottish Parliaments was defeated by a vote of 321 to 46, with a majority of 275 votes.

The bill will face further consideration in the House of Lords at a later date.

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https://metro.co.uk/2023/01/31/sweeping-new-powers-to-curb-strike-disruption-approved-by-mps-18193029/ Sweeping new powers to curb strike disruptions approved by MPs

Justin Scaccy

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