Labour has said that they will oppose any new laws that the government will introduce to restrict strike action and would repeal the Bill if they win the next election.
Sir Keir Starmer said the government’s idea to bring in new legislation is not “going to work” and that he would “repeal it” should Labour wins the next election.
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves also slammed Rishi Sunak’s plans and accused the government of going from “clapping our nurses” throughout the Covid pandemic to “sacking them.”
The Times reported that Sunak is considering new measures which will allow businesses to sue unions and sack workers and the new laws will apply to the health service, rail, education, fire, border security and nuclear sectors.
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Aslef general secretary, Mick Whelan warned the government that if they set legal limits on how many people can on the picket line, this means unions will most likely launch strikes lasting a lot longer than what we are seeing now.
The anti-strike laws could be introduced within days, Whelan said and then warned that unions will take the government to court over the laws.
Sir Keir said, “Every day there is a different briefing as to whether there is going to be legislation, what it is going to be and when it is going to come.
“I think there is a reason for that and that is because I don’t think this legislation is going to work. I am pretty sure they have had an assessment that tells them that it is likely to make a bad situation worse.
“Obviously we will look at what they bring forward.
“But if it is further restrictions, then we would repeal it and the reason for that is I do not think that legislation is the way that you bring an end to industrial disputes.”
Reeves, asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if Labour will support such a Bill, said: “No, we will not support it.”
She added: “The NHS relies on the goodwill of doctors and nurses and other people who work in our health service.
“If you say that people can’t take industrial action, to say that we’re going from clapping our nurses to sacking them for taking industrial action — which is what the government is now threatening — the idea that that’s going to produce outcomes and reduce delays for patients, that’s just for the birds.
“And that’s why Labour would oppose it if the Government go down that route.”
Downing Street has refused to comment on the speculation over any new legislation, but Sunak made his intention clear to introduce a new Bill when he was asked during a speech in London.
Sunak said, “And that’s why I have said we will introduce new legislation that restores that balance and crucially protects people’s lives as well as their livelihoods.”