Thank you to all those who contacted me about the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act. I opposed the regulations and code of practice implementing its measures that were voted on in the House of Commons on 28 November 2023 and am committed to repealing this legislation.

I oppose the Act because it threatens teachers and nurses with the sack during a staffing crisis, attacks the fundamental freedoms of working people, and does nothing to resolve the underlying problems affecting our services.

Working people are facing the largest fall in living standards in a generation. It is in this context that we have seen the largest strike disruption in decades. I believe it is deeply worrying that, rather than seek practical solutions to these issues, the Government has instead pushed through a law allowing workers to be sacked for going on strike.

This Act is wrong in principle. The right to strike is a fundamental one in our society, yet the Act effectively withdraws that right from hundreds of thousands of workers.

The Act is unnecessary. We all want minimum standards in essential services, but it is Government Ministers who are failing to provide them.

Finally, the Act is unworkable. Indeed, the Government’s own impact assessment on minimum service levels for transport warned that the plans could lead to more strikes and staff shortages.

For these reasons, I opposed the Act throughout its passage through Parliament, including voting against it as a whole, supporting amendments that would have taken the sting out of its worst elements, and opposing the regulations implementing its provisions. Unfortunately, the Government was able to use its majority in the House of Commons to force through the Act and the measures it provides for.

I will continue to oppose the Act and will support efforts to repeal it as soon as the opportunity arises. We need to give trade unions the freedom to organise, represent and negotiate on behalf of their workers and to enable industrial relations based on good faith negotiation and bargaining.

Women holding a sign reading
Women holding a sign reading 'Fair Pay'
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