Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Tories vote 289 to 202 to allow agency workers to break strikes

You won’t stop us fighting for pay rises in this cost-of-living crisis

 “We oppose this latest attack on our fundamental right to peacefully withdraw our labour” said Martin Mayer Secretary Sheffield TUC. “All we ever get from Tory Governments is yet more anti-union laws. They are doing everything they can to stop workers fighting back against the biggest drop in living standards for a century – but they won’t succeed,” said Martin Mayer

This latest new law removes a long-standing ban on the use of agency workers as strike breakers. Using agency workers in this way has always been seen as unethical but also potentially dangerous and likely to poison industrial relations even further. It also puts agency workers in a totally unacceptable position. If they do as instructed, they will be crossing a picket line and taking the side of the boss against the workers on strike, which many agency workers will not wish to do. If they refuse, they could face the sack and potentially not be permitted to claim benefits.

Using scab labour to break a strike has always raised the temperature in disputes and poisoned industrial relations. Rather than force a recalcitrant employer to come back to the negotiating table, overturning the ban on agency workers will give bad employers another way out of settling the dispute. That’s why trade unions have warned that this will exacerbate and prolong strikes rather than discourage them.

“The Tories are desperate to find every which way they can to frustrate workers right to strike. We have the most restrictive anti-union laws across the developed world but they will never stop workers fighting back. Trade Unions and workers will always find ways to challenge bad bosses and win proper pay and conditions,” said Martin Mayer.

The current industrial climate is boiling over as workers face the biggest cost of living crisis in a century. RPI inflation is nearly 12% yet many workers are facing pay freezes or pay rises of just 1-5%, and this follows a decade of austerity cuts to workers’ standard of living. “Rather than address the desperate hardship workers are facing, this Government is only interested in clamping down on trade unions and stopping workers fighting for the wage rises they deserve,” said Martin Mayer.



for comment please contact Martin Mayer on 0776 107 8482



Sheffield TUC says all workers should join a union, especially workers on low pay. Our Sheffield Needs a Pay Rise campaign is there to help. Low pay not only means workers cannot live to an acceptable standard, it makes our working-class communities poorer and is bad for the local economy. For Sheffield to prosper we must end low pay now! We are helping to fund a Union Organiser in Sheffield with our partner the Bakers and Allied Food Workers Union to help low paid workers get organised and fight to raise their pay and conditions, including by strike action.