The press release issued by the TUC on 16 January 2023.
- TUC warns MPs are “voting blind” following government failure to publish impact assessment for anti-strikes bill
A government-appointed body has today (Monday) criticised the government for failing to provide MPs with an impact assessment on its new Minimum Service Level bill, which is in parliament for its second reading today.
If passed, the bill will mean that when workers democratically and lawfully vote to strike in health, education, fire, transport, border security and nuclear decommissioning, they can be forced to work and sacked if they don’t comply.
The TUC has slammed the “draconian legislation” as “an attack on the fundamental right to strike”.
In a statement, the Regulatory Policy Committee – a group of independent experts brought together by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to examine the impact of regulation on business and civil society – said:
Government departments are expected to submit IAs to the RPC before the relevant bill is laid before Parliament and in time for the RPC to issue an opinion alongside the publication of the IA.
An IA for this Bill has not yet been submitted for RPC scrutiny; nor has one been published despite the Bill being currently considered by Parliament.
The TUC has accused the government of attempting to “railroad through” the new controversial legislation without proper consultation or scrutiny.
The TUC is calling on MPs of all parties to reject this spiteful legislation, which it says is “shortcutting” normal scrutiny procedures.
New sweeping powers
The bill gives ministers “sweeping new powers” to impose new minimum service levels through regulation – which could come into force as early as this summer.
But consultations on how these regulations will work have not been published, and parliamentarians have been given no detail on how minimum service levels are intended to operate – and the government has not yet published an impact assessment for the bill.
The TUC says the new legislation will “do nothing” to solve the current disputes across the public sector.
The impact assessment for the previous transport bill, published in Autumn but now superseded by the current legislation, warns that minimum service levels could poison industrial relations – leading to more frequent industrial action.
And the Government has failed to produce a fresh impact assessment for the new bill, which will cover a wider range of sectors.
TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak said:
“It’s shameful that MPs are being asked to vote blind on a bill that will have far-reaching consequences for millions of workers.
“The government is deliberately railroading through this spiteful legislation to avoid proper parliamentary scrutiny.
“Make no mistake – this bill is a fundamental attack on the right to strike that will force workers across the public sector to cross picket lines or face the sack.
“And it will do nothing to solve the current disputes across the economy – but only make matters worse.
“This draconian legislation is undemocratic, unworkable and almost certainly illegal.
“Workers are facing a living standards emergency. With inflation running at over 10%, the last thing they need is for ministers to make it harder to secure better pay and conditions.
“This is a naked power grab – no matter how ministers try and spin it.
“Instead of scheming up new ways to attack the right to strike, ministers should get pay rising across the economy – starting with a decent pay rise for workers across the public sector.”