UK faces legal action from unions over strikes

(Photo: Envato Elements)

LONDON — British unions have launched legal action against the UK government over a new law allowing agency staff to replace striking workers.اضافة اعلان

It comes as tens of thousands of workers, spearheaded by the rail and postal sectors, are continuing with walkouts over a cost-of-living crisis in Britain.

Union umbrella group the TUC is taking action on behalf of 11 unions, while Unison — representing more than a million workers — and a teachers’ union are bringing their own cases against the government, led by new Prime Minister Liz Truss.

The government, while Boris Johnson was still in charge, amended a law over the summer to allow agency staff to help fill gaps caused by strikes.

“The right to strike is a fundamental British liberty,” TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said Tuesday.

“But the government is attacking it in broad daylight. Threatening this right tilts the balance of power too far towards employers. It means workers can’t stand up for decent services and safety at work — or defend their jobs and pay.”

Strikes, postponed following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, are resuming over the next couple of weeks.

Workers across various sectors have gone on strike across Britain since the summer as decades-high inflation erodes earnings.

O’Grady said ministers failed to consult with unions over the law change, breaching a legal requirement.

“And restricting the freedom to strike is a breach of international law,” she added in a statement.

“That’s why unions are coming together to challenge this change in the courts.”

Over the summer, the UK rail sector carried out its biggest stoppage in more than 30 years.

Some proposed non-rail strikes were halted after unions and companies agreed pay deals at the eleventh hour.

But walkouts have still gone ahead by Amazon warehouse staff and criminal lawyers in recent weeks.

Next week, workers at Britain’s largest container port, Felixstowe, launch strike action for a further eight days.

The walkout from September 27 until early October 5 comes after an initial eight-day summer stoppage at the port in eastern England.

Teachers and health workers have meanwhile hinted at possible walkouts should they not receive new pay deals deemed acceptable.

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