Sunak has threatened to introduce ‘tough’ laws to inhibit the ability of unions to improve the conditions of the working class. In a display of irony that would elicit laughter were it not such a concerning revelation, Sunak made the proclamation at a time when strike action has been planned in various public sectors for half the month of January due to a long time decline in real wages, a decline exacerbated by current, historic rates of inflation.
The threat, if made real, will introduce measures such as mandating longer notice periods for strike action. That is, rendering strike action less effective by allowing bosses to plan a contingency for their duration.
It bears mentioning that the original bill as drawn up by rumoured leadership-hopeful Jacob Rees-Mogg would have seen public sector bosses able to sue unions and terminate employment contracts in circumstances where minimum service levels are not met. Those plans were scrapped due to fears of legal action from the TUC.
Regarding Labour, Starmer’s ban on MPs appearing on picket lines should make what workers can expect under a Labour government crystal clear.
The myth that ensuring minimal levels of public services is at the heart of the planned legislation, as purported by the mainstream media, overlooks the real intention; to hamper and undermine effective trade union organising.
A key factor of the recent proposals ignored by the mainstream media is the timing of these announcements, which are highly unlikely to have enhanced the bargaining power of union leaders currently in key talks about wages for public sector workers.
The threats come at a time when unions have been undermined by the government, the so-called opposition and the mainstream media. Unions have indeed had to increase levels of industrial action because bosses have continuously refused to meaningfully increase wages in a cost-of-living crisis and what the incoming general secretary of the TUC, Paul Nowak, has rightly termed ‘the longest squeeze on earnings in modern history’.
Considering the long term attack on unions by the ruling class, claims that new legislation aims to encourage negotiating without accompanying strike action seem to be deliberately misleading, seemingly intended to mislead those who are not observing the reality of the ruling class’s onslaught on the working class.