TIM SHARP, the TUC senior policy officer for employment rights, has published an article entitled ‘Fighting the Anti-Strike Law’.
He states: ‘The government is attempting to rush through Parliament new laws that could undermine workers’ ability to take strike action to defend their pay and conditions.’
He adds: ‘The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill is a draconian piece of legislation.
‘It allows Ministers to write regulations in any services within six sectors (health, education, fire and rescue, border force, nuclear decommissioning and transport) that will force workers to work during strike action.’
Nothing has been seen like it since the days of Hitler’s Labour Fronts.
Sharp goes on: ‘Employers will then issue work notices naming who has to work and what they must do.
‘Workers could be sacked and unions face huge damages if they fail to comply.
‘First in the firing line will be ambulance, fire, and rail workers, with the government seeking to ram through new rules by the summer.’
He continues: ‘The TUC believes this new law is undemocratic by forcing workers to cross picket lines even if they have voted to strike in a legal ballot.
‘It is counter-productive: the government’s own analysis has warned that it could lead to more strikes.
‘And it ignores the steps that workers already take to ensure that life-and-limb cover is in place during industrial action.
‘Workers could now be sacked for taking strike action that has been agreed in a democratic ballot.
‘If a person specified in their employer’s work notice continues to take strike action despite being required to work during the strike, they will lose their protection from automatic unfair dismissal.
‘This currently applies for first 12 weeks of a strike.
‘This is a gross infringement of individuals’ freedom.
‘It is also a U-turn on ministers’ initial pledge to protect individuals from penalties.’
The Bill says a union must take ‘reasonable steps’ to ensure that all its members identified in the work notice do not take part in the strike action. If it doesn’t, the union could face an injunction to stop the strike or have to pay huge damages. These costs come out of members’ subs.
The cap for damages was last year raised to £1 million.
The legislation doesn’t say what a ‘reasonable step’ constitutes, leaving trade unions uncertain of their responsibilities.
The TUC also says it believes that forcing unions to send their members across picket lines is a significant infringement of their freedoms, ‘probably against international law … and it will do nothing to support those using public services, who are seeing the consequences of a decade of austerity.’
It states: ‘Every working person is under attack from these new laws. Add your name and join the campaign. We must defend the right to strike.’
Sharp and his master, the TUC leader Nowak, are not even calling a one-day gener al strike against the Tory outlawing of the right to strike.
The disgusting TUC general Council is prepared to sit back and watch the anti-trade union barage from a distance – no doubt spending millions of trade unionists’ subscriptions on a hopeless legal effort to halt the Tory juggernaut.
This issue is a life and death matter for the working class.
Workers must take action to force the removal of the current General Council of the TUC.
They must be replaced by a new leadership prepared to smash the Tories with an indefinite general strike and a socialist revolution.
There is not a moment to lose. The trade unions must call a general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a Workers Government and a socialist, nationalised and planned economy.
This is the only way forward!
Turn the February 1st demonstration into the first day of an indefinite general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers government and socialism.