Chancellor goes to war with ‘militant trade unions’ as he vows to make it harder to strike

Chancellor goes to war with ‘militant trade unions’ as he vows to make it harder to strike

The Government will make it harder for trade unions to declare strike action, the Chancellor announced on Friday.

Kwasi Kwarteng told MPs that the wave of industrial action by hundreds of thousands of workers across multiple industries was “unacceptable”.

Announcing his mini-budget, he said: “At such a critical time for our economy, it is simply unacceptable that strike action is disrupting so many lives.

“Other European countries have minimum service levels to stop militant trade unions closing down transport networks during strikes.

“So we will do the same. And we will go further.

“We will legislate to require unions to put pay offers to a member vote, to ensure strikes can only be called once negotiations have genuinely broken down.”

Shortly after Mr Kwarteng made his comments, the Transport Salaried Staffs Association and Unite announced fresh industrial action in a long-running rail dispute over jobs, pay and conditions.

All the major rail unions are now taking strike action on October 1, threatening a complete shutdown of the network. Strike action is also set to disrupt the final day of the Tory party conference on October 5.

Responding to the Chancellor's comments in his mini budget on further restrictions for unions, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said:"We already have the most severe anti-democratic trade union laws in Western Europe and this latest threat will rightly enrage our members.

"The government should be working towards a negotiated settlement in the national rail dispute, not seeking to make it even harder to take effective strike action.

"RMT and other unions will not sit idly by or meekly accept any further obstacles on their members exercising the basic human right to withdraw their labour."