It is apparent that Sunak and the rest of his party are gravely concerned about unions, the hard-working, decent people they represent and the general public's resounding support.
GMB Union joins in slamming the Tories proposed anti-strike laws
As the winter of discontent continues, the Tory government shows no signs of giving up its ideological blitz on hardworking, decent people. Now the festivities are out of the way, the Prime Minster, Rishi Sunak, and his government have issued proposals for a set of abhorrent policies, which are commonly being referred to as anti-strike laws. Yet another blazing attack on working people, the Tories continue to live up to their age-old nickname, the nasty party.
On Thursday 5th January, to the horror of millions across the nation, the news broke that in the coming weeks, the government intends to introduce anti-strike legislation. The crux of these new laws is despite workers balloting to strike, the government must be consulted on the minimum level of service, that under no uncertain terms, must be provided. These new laws primarily affect the public sector, foremost fire, ambulance and rail services. The Trade Union Congress (TUC) responded promptly, arguing ‘this is wrong, unworkable, and almost certainly illegal.’ GMB Union echoes their remarks and argues that these proposals will undermine industrial action across the nation.
In Tory Britain, the country is all too familiar with every winter being synonymous with yet another crisis in the NHS. The same mantra rears its ugly head year in, year out; not enough staff, not enough beds and not enough funding. For the past 13 years the Tories have taken more funding away from the NHS, and replaced the public services said funding provided with private services. Furthermore, years of austerity measures placed on the health service have resulted in staff reductions, and the staff that are left receive less than adequate pay, terms and conditions. Despite this, Sunak and his Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Steve Barclay, have chosen to bury their heads in the sand, pass insulting remarks and disregard the thoughts and feelings of all healthcare staff.
To add insult to injury, these proposed anti-strike laws will take further rights and protections away from healthcare workers. This government has a track record which suggests they cannot be trusted to safeguard the NHS nor its staff. After over a decade of Tory mismanagement, finally healthcare workers are saying enough is enough and taking to the picket lines. Undoubtedly, the proposed anti-strike legislation has come as a result of Sunak and his cronies realizing that those workers who have been under their thumb for so long are no longer willing to settle for anything less than the necessary pay, terms and conditions. GMB Union sends a clear and simple message to this Tory government, if you can clap our healthcare workers, you can pay them what they deserve!
Furthermore, on Friday 6th January, following this senseless attack on workers' rights, Sunak patronisingly invited union leaders for ‘grown-up, honest’ talks. Ironically, it is the Prime Minster and his counterparts who have been immature throughout this entire process, taking swipes at organised members, and ruining talks before they have even began; by putting untenable offers on the table, and proceeding to blame the unions for not attending. GMB Union urges the Prime Minster to conduct himself in a serious manner, instead of issuing crass ramblings via the press. All unions are willing to get around the table to resolve these disputes, but not whilst the Prime Minster suggest we are childish and dishonest. Evidently, he is aware that unions and their members have won the hearts and minds of the general public.
Last but certainly not least, although the Tories suggest this anti-strike legislation is limited to certain areas of the public sector, nobody in their right mind would trust a single promise from this government. If they can undermine one sector, they will undermine them all. Likewise, history suggests that eroding workers' rights, and consciously seeking to break and then abolish trade unions, is a slippery slope into a right-wing, fascist dictatorship. The nation has suffered plenty of political instability and turbulence over the past few years, both are the ideal conditions for despotism to flourish, and democratic structures to be dismantled. GMB Union and our members stand in solidarity with our sister unions and their membership against this dogmatic government and their attacks.
In conclusion, it is apparent that Sunak and the rest of his party are gravely concerned about unions, the hard-working, decent people they represent and the general public's resounding support. As working-class Britons get closer to achieving the pay, terms and conditions they are entitled to, this government will become increasingly hostile. Workers across the nation should heed GMB Unions warning, this government will not stop at anti-strike legislation, they will continue to attack and try to erode workers' rights and protections. Our mantra is clear: across the trade union movement, we must stand firm.
Neil Smith, Political Officer
Written and edited by Shaun Nash