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UK trade union files complaint with UN over govt.’s anti-strike law

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers gather outside Liverpool Lime Street station, July 2023.

Britain’s Trades Union Congress (TUC) has lodged a complaint with the United Nations against the government’s newly enforced controversial anti-strike law, which the union brands illegal.

The UK government adopted the new law in July. It will require some employees to work during industrial action – or face being sacked.

The TUC said it will be lodging the case at the International Labor Organization (ILO) since the new law “falls far short” of international legal standards.

“The right to strike is fundamental. Without the right to withdraw our labor, workers become disposable, replaceable and exploitable,” TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak told the congress on Monday. 

“This new law isn't about preserving services for the public,” he said. “It's about telling us to get back in our place and to not demand better.”

The government, however, argues the new rules “protect the lives and livelihoods of the general public” as well as access to public services.

The UK government adopted the legislation following a year of unprecedented industrial action by hundreds of thousands of workers, amid a cost-of-living crisis.

Once implemented, the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act will apply to a wide range of workers, including those in the rail industry and emergency services.

There would also be no automatic protection from unfair dismissal for an employee who is told to work through a notice but chooses to strike.


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