No10 confirms strike-busting bill paused as ministers look to broaden scope
No10 has confirmed that its bill on guaranteeing minimum service levels during strike days is being paused as ministers look to broaden its scope.
“Essentially we’ve paused that bill and are looking at adding additional measures to it to widen its scope,” said the Prime Minister’s spokesperson.
“We haven’t set out exactly the scope of what we would be bringing forward as part of these new powers but we will do so as soon as possible.”
Introduced in Parliament following this summer’s rail strikes, the bill has not progressed past its first reading.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told MPs last week he was working on introducing “new tough laws to protect people from” increasing strike action.
Sunak didn’t rule out extending the measures past transport to include other sectors, such as ambulance services.
Commenting on the announcement, Labour’s shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said the legislation could lead to increased disruption and strike days.
“Rather than forcing through damaging legislation that could exacerbate disruption, the government should stop grandstanding, show some responsibility, get around the table and start negotiating to avoid disruption,” she said.
Haigh’s comments were echoed by Trade Union Congress’s general secretary Frances O’Grady, who said unions will oppose the new legislation “every step of the way.”
It comes as thousands of workers across the transport, healthcare and postal services sector have walked out over jobs and salaries.
Nurses at 44 NHS trusts across the country have laid down tools for the first time in a century as they are after a 19 per cent pay rise to account for inflation, City A.M. reported.
Whereas members of the transport union RMT will partake in the latest round of talks with government officials and train operators.
Rail minister Huw Merriman will hold negotiations later this afternoon in an eleventh-hour attempt to solve the rail dispute and prevent further industrial action.
RMT members at Network Rail and 14 other operators will carry on with this week’s strikes, walking out tomorrow and on Saturday as well as on 3, 4, 6, 7 January after they rejected an eight per cent pay increase from train companies.
Separately, Network Rail staff will down tools from 6pm on Christmas Eve to 6am on 27 December after turning down a nine per cent offer.