Sheffield Trade Union Council says: “We will defy these new anti-strike laws!”

Workers who vote for strike action will be forced to cross their own picket lines


Our Fundamental Right to Strike is under attack

 “Workers who have voted for strike action will be forced to work – and be made to cross their own union’s picket line under the Tories’ new anti-union laws” said Martin Mayer Secretary Sheffield Trade Union Council. “They will not do it. They will refuse. There will be civil unrest, police confrontation on the picket lines and massive demonstrations in protest. We will defend our fundamental right to strike whatever it takes – even if that means going to prison,” said Martin Mayer.

New Minimum Service Levels – the toughest antiunion laws yet in Europe

Some other European countries have minimum service level agreements, but these are largely voluntary and in practice not enforced. Nowhere else in Europe will workers face the sack for exercising their fundamental right to strike. And nowhere else do trade unions face being sued (and probably made bankrupt) by employers if they do not force their own members to work during a strike.

To peacefully withdraw your labour is a fundamental right in a democracy

Following the defeat of fascism after World War 2, it was universally recognised that free trade unions and the right to strike are an essential bulwark to democracy – and an important defence against fascism. We are on a slippery slope to authoritarianism and fascism if our fundamental right to strike is withdrawn. Workers will become “wage slaves” forced to work against their will and with no power to prevent abuse from bad bosses. Currently workers are striking because they haven’t had a proper pay rise during an exceptional cost of living crisis. If the right to strike is withdrawn, bosses will be free to cut pay, slash conditions, impose forced overtime etc without workers have the right to resist.

All workers are asking is a decent pay rise to keep pace with the cost of living

Top company bosses got an average 39% pay rise in 2022 and the number of billionaires increased by 20% since the pandemic – but the Government is determined to hold workers pay down and force massive real terms cuts to our incomes. The strikes could be settled tomorrow if a reasonable pay offer was put on the table. Nurses for instance have lost nearly 30% of their real take home pay since 2010 when Tory Governments starting imposing wage freezes and below inflation pay rises

Is this the BREXIT dividend we didn’t vote for?

It’s becoming clear that the Tories strategy is to reduce the real cost of labour for employers. Is this what their thinking was all along when they asked us to vote for BREXIT? Outside of the EU, common employment standards won’t apply and trade unions will not have access to the European Court of Justice. The Tories also want to extricate us from the European Court of Human Rights so that international union rights cannot be enforced here in the UK. Now we know – the Tories vision is for a low cost, non-union, strike-free UK plc. A “Singapore” off the coast of Europe undercutting our competitors with rock bottom labour costs and no labour rights.

“Sheffield TUC and trade unionists across the country will resist these new laws to the bitter end,” said Martin Mayer. “Freedom and democracy are at stake now in this country under the Tories.”