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Anti-Union Laws: Cheltenham march [print version]

Members of Aslef, one of the many unions on the TUC rally Protect the right to strike, Cheltenham, Saturday 27 January. Photo Workers.

On Saturday 27 January thousands of trade unionists from across the country assembled in Cheltenham for a TUC march and rally against the latest anti-strike laws. They know that the law is aimed at undermining their ability to organise and defend pay and conditions.

The unions most likely to be impacted by the legislation were well represented on the march – from the health service, teaching and railways. They are all targeted under the minimum service levels regulations. They were joined by others, including steel workers from South Wales.

Following a series of successful strike actions across the NHS and the rail industry, the government passed the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act at the end of 2023. This gives employers the ability to serve work notices on individual workers compelling them to return to work on a legally called strike day.

A worker failing to comply can be lawfully dismissed. This legislation is designed to isolate individuals and to undermine collective action. It also enables employers to victimise individual workers without recourse, as they are the judge of who is given a work notice.    

• A longer version of this article is on the web at www.cpbml.org.uk