Planned legislation could see unions sued if they fail to provide a minimum level of service in key industries while they are taking industrial action.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to detail the planned legislation in a report as soon as tomorrow.
Mandatory minimum levels of service would cover fire, rail and ambulance services, whereas voluntary agreements would cover other industries such as health, education, transport, border security, nuclear, and fire and rescue.
It’s understood that several unions would challenge the laws in court, and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer promised they would repeal them altogether.
Trades Union Congress (TUC) General Secretary Paul Nowak said: “This is an attack on the right to strike. It’s an attack on working people. And it’s an attack on one of our longstanding British liberties.
“Trade unions will fight this every step of the way. We’re inviting every worker – public and private sector, and everyone who wants to protect British liberties -to be a part of our campaign to defend the right to strike.”
Business Secretary Grant Shapps justified the measures, saying they were needed to “restore the balance between those seeking to strike and protecting the public from disproportionate disruption”.
The planned laws would not solve the current wave of strike action.
Commenting on the NHS backlog, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “the NHS relies on the goodwill of doctors and nurses and other people who work in our health service
“Going from clapping our nurses to sacking them for taking industrial action- the idea that that’s going to improve outcomes and reduce delays for patients – that’s just for the birds.”
The legislation is expected to be consulted on over the coming weeks, and tabled in the current Parliamentary session.