TSSA has been giving evidence in person to the Transport Committee of MPs in the Westminster Parliament as we continue the fight against the government's ‘Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill’.
The planned legislation is currently making its way through Parliament and has reached the committee stage.
TSSA considers the plans, to impose minimum levels of service across the public sector during industrial action walkouts, to be totally unworkable and draconian. We are also challenging the legality of the legislation should it become law.
In effect this would see some trade union members forced to continue working during strikes, undermining a basic human right of being able to withdraw their labour.
The Transport Committee was examining the process by which those service levels will be defined in practice, and the factors that will need to be taken into account, should the Bill pass into law.
Alongside representative from sibling trade unions TSSA’s Policy Officer, Rob Jenks, told the Committee - “we don’t think that this legislation is needed or that it would work. It’s undemocratic and the right to strike is the vanguard of democracy.”
Rob also made it clear that minimum service legislation would likely increase tensions between employers, government and workers on the railways. It would, he said, “cause a breakdown in industrial relations. Most of the time we get along and things are resolved without the need for industrial action.”
There was widespread concern across the Committee about the unintended consequences of the legislation, especially on the safe running of the railway. This was a point highlighted by Rob, and others, including senior representatives from train companies Cross Country and Greater Anglia who appeared in an earlier evidence session.