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Opposition in UK slams anti-strike bill, says it destroys freedoms as cost-of-living crisis deepens

Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the UK Labor Party

The UK Labor Party has slammed the government's new plan to enact legislation aimed at curbing strikes, saying that the controversial move trashes civil liberties.

Deputy Labor leader Angela Rayner said many MPs from the ruling Conservative party, with this bill, “are burning freedoms for which we fought for centuries," Financial Times reported.

The proposed legislation also angered trade unions that say it would have a “chilling effect” on workers’ willingness to exercise their right to strike.

Also on Monday, thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the gates of Downing Street in London to protest against the legislation, carrying signs such as "the right to strike is the right to hope" and "strike to win".

Protesters say the ability to strike allows workers to affirm their rights and negotiate for fair treatment and compensation in the workplace.

"If this government was reasonable and negotiating with us, there would be a different matter. But to not negotiate with us, and to deny our right to strike, it means you are treating us like slaves with no right to object to our working conditions,” a protester said during her speech on stage.

The government put forward a new legislation in parliament that would give police more powers to crack down and mandate minimum service levels during strikes. On Monday, MPs voted in favor of the legislation by 309 votes to 249, a majority of 60.

The UK has been grappling with its biggest strike wave for decades, with airport baggage handlers, border staff, driving instructors, bus drivers, and postal workers walking off their jobs to demand higher pay, to be able to cope with the soaring inflation and worsening cost-of-living crisis.

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