Rishi Sunak Could Vote This Month In The House Of Commons On Laws To Curb Strikes


A vote in the House of Commons on laws to curb strikes could take place in weeks as Rishi Sunak struggles to show he can come to grips with the crisis.

Rail users face another week of misery as tens of thousands of staff walk out in their battle for double-digit pay rises.

It is feared the move will effectively delay the return to work by a week in the new year, dealing another huge blow to the faltering economy.

The prime minister has vowed to continue with tougher rules on strikes, with a bill setting minimum staffing levels for public services potentially coming before MPs this month.

However, if combined with wider measures – possibly including a strike ban in key sectors – the legislation could take longer. The government is also facing strong resistance to the changes in the House of Lords.

Ministers hope the crackdown on unions will highlight the divide with Labor as Keir Starmer vows to oppose any reforms.

Rishi Sunak has vowed to press ahead with tougher rules on strikes, with a bill setting minimum staffing levels for public services potentially coming before MPs this month

Rishi Sunak has vowed to press ahead with tougher rules on strikes, with a bill setting minimum staffing levels for public services potentially coming before MPs this month

Rail users face another week of woes as tens of thousands of staff walk out in their battle for double-digit pay rises

Rail users face another week of woes as tens of thousands of staff walk out in their battle for double-digit pay rises

Rail users face another week of woes as tens of thousands of staff walk out in their battle for double-digit pay rises

Desperate rail passengers in London during the latest strikes last month

Desperate rail passengers in London during the latest strikes last month

Desperate rail passengers in London during the latest strikes last month

Dave Penman, head of the FDA union representing the senior civil service, said the legislative changes would not stop the action.

“The reality of this is that these disputes are about pay. And unless you do something about that, unless the government tries to fix that, maybe they can put some small restrictions on the impact of some of these strikes, but the strikes will continue,” he told Times Radio.

“You know, if you look at the strike votes, you know, these aren’t some kind of leftist union leaders leading their kind of membership down the aisle, you’re talking about turnout charges of, you know, 80-90 per cent, because most of these unions pay mostly in the public sector, and many of these strikes are significantly behind the private sector and significantly behind inflation.”

Meanwhile, health unions have reacted angrily to the prospect that the government could try to impose another below-inflation pay rise on NHS staff in the coming year.

The NHS Confederation is concerned that Health Secretary Steve Barclay will try to limit the next increase for staff other than doctors and dentists to just 2 per cent.

Although Mr Barclay did not give a figure last month when he wrote to the pay review body, they believe that because the NHS budget for 2023-24 has been set, that is the amount he wants.

Another 1 percent unforeseen can add up to 3 percent.

The unions are already embroiled in a bitter dispute over this year’s award, which has led to strikes by nurses and paramedics this month.

Pat Cullen, the general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), warned of another cut in real terms and said ministers should focus on resolving this year’s claim.

“Our dispute is over the NHS award for 2022-23, and we are deciding how we are going to have discussions about the 2023-24 award,” she told the Guardian.

“The ministers need to resolve our dispute with them over this year’s award before moving onto next year’s award.

“It should be more than enough to impose a decade of real pay cuts on nursing without considering going down that path again next year.”

A GMB union official told the newspaper: “The ministry (of Health and Social Care) has already sent its brief to the wage review body and budgeted for a 2.1 percent wage increase.

“This is about a third of predicted inflation in 2023. The fundamental problem in the dispute is that NHS payment schemes have been continuously underfunded.”

The unions are already embroiled in a bitter dispute over this year's award, which has led to strikes by nurses and paramedics this month.

The unions are already embroiled in a bitter dispute over this year's award, which has led to strikes by nurses and paramedics this month.

The unions are already embroiled in a bitter dispute over this year’s award, which has led to strikes by nurses and paramedics this month.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said: ‘The government greatly appreciates and values ​​NHS staff and we have committed to giving NHS workers a pay rise, asking the independent pay review bodies for recommendations on the pay of the staff in question .

This follows the full acceptance of last year’s recommendations, which saw the lowest earners in the NHS receive a 9.3 per cent pay rise.

“We will carefully review reports from independent pay review agencies as we receive them. The government has not yet determined its position on affordability for 2023/24.’

Members of Network Rail’s Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union and 14 train operators will stage two 48-hour strikes from tomorrow and Friday, while train drivers from the Asle union will strike on Thursday.

Travelers, including those returning to work after the holidays, are being warned to expect ‘significant disruption’ as only a limited number of trains will run.

The advice is to only travel if it is really necessary, take extra time into account and see when the first and last trains leave.

Services may also be interrupted on Sunday 8 January when the striking workers return to work.

On RMT strike days, about half of the network will be shut down and only about 20% of normal services will be running.

Trains that do run start later and end much earlier than usual, with services typically running between 7:30am and 6:30pm on the day of the strike.

The train drivers’ strike on January 5 will affect 15 carriers and will result in even fewer timetables, with some companies operating ‘very much shortened’ timetables.

The RMT also has an overtime ban at 14 train operators until Monday, which has consequences for the number of cancellations and the punctuality of some services.

Daniel Mann, director of industrial operations at the Rail Delivery Group, said: ‘Nobody wants these strikes to continue and we can only apologize to the passengers and to the many businesses that will be affected by this unnecessary and damaging disruption.

We advise travelers to only travel during this period if it is really necessary, to plan extra time and to see when their first and last train leaves.

‘Passengers with tickets for 3 to 7 January can use their ticket the day before the ticket date, or until Tuesday 10 January.

Unions and the NHS Confederation fear Health Secretary Steve Barclay (pictured) will try to limit next year's increase for staff other than doctors and dentists to just 2%

Unions and the NHS Confederation fear Health Secretary Steve Barclay (pictured) will try to limit next year's increase for staff other than doctors and dentists to just 2%

Unions and the NHS Confederation fear Health Secretary Steve Barclay (pictured) will try to limit next year’s increase for staff other than doctors and dentists to just 2%

“This dispute can only be resolved by agreeing on the long overdue reforms to working arrangements needed to put the industry on a sustainable footing, rather than unions condemning their members to more pay cuts in the new year.”

Aslef’s general secretary, Mick Whelan, said the union is ‘in it for the long haul’, adding: ‘We don’t want to go on strike, but the companies have pushed us into this place.

“They have not offered our members a penny and these are people who have not had a raise since April 2019.

“That means they expect machinists at these companies to take a real pay cut – work just as hard for significantly less – if inflation rises above 14 percent.

“The train companies say their hands are tied by the government. While the government – ​​which does not employ us – says it is up to the companies to negotiate with us.

“We are always willing to negotiate – we never refuse to sit down and talk – but these companies have not offered us anything, and that is unacceptable.”

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch has accused the government of blocking a deal to end the long-running dispute.

A spokesman for the Department of Transport said: ‘Passengers are rightly fed up with train strikes and want the disruption to end.

“The government has shown reasonableness and stands ready to facilitate resolution of railway disputes. It is time for the unions to come to the table and play their part.

Inflation-matching wage increases for all public sector workers would cost everyone more in the long run – worsening debt, fueling inflation and costing each household an extra £1,000.

“Unions must distance themselves from this strike action so that we can begin 2023 to end this damaging dispute.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *