Trade union leaders will report the UK Government to the UN workers' rights watchdog over the "pernicious" anti-strike law.
TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak warned the “unworkable” legislation has been designed to “escalate” industrial tensions rather than to resolve them. Speaking at the annual trades union gathering in Liverpool, Mr Nowak said the crackdown on workers was "a product of a desperate Conservative Government spoiling for a fight with unions to distract from their dire economic record".
The union body plans to report the Government to the International Labour Organization (ILO) – the UN workers’ rights watchdog – over the Strikes Act, which became law earlier this year. The controversial legislation would impose minimum staffing levels in key public services such as health, fire and education. But unions argue the "anti-strikes bill" amounts to a draconian crackdown on workers rights.
It comes after the Government was dealt a humiliating blow by the High Court in July, which ruled laws allowing bosses to bring in agency staff to cover for striking workers is illegal.
Image:Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)
Mr Nowak said: “The ILO has already slapped down the UK government and ordered it to make sure existing and prospective legislation is in line with ILO standards. We believe the Strikes Act falls way short of that. And that’s why we have submitted a case to the ILO over these new laws.
"Unions defeated the Government in the High Court over the unlawful use of agency workers during strikes. We are determined to win again."
European TUC general secretary Esther Lynch warned the legislation could be in breach of UK's post-Brexit trade agreement with Brussels - and could put the Government at risk of hefty economic sanctions. She said: "The Strikes Act is a fundamental attack on the right to strike and will make the UK an international outlier on trade union rights and labour standards.
“Rather than bringing the UK in line with its European partners – these draconian laws will cut it adrift. Let me by crystal clear. It is already harder for working people in the UK to take strike action than in any other Western European country."