Yesterday the Government invited trade unions to call off strikes and discuss fair and affordable pay settlements for the forthcoming year and announced plans to guarantee minimum safety levels in critical public sectors, ensuring services cannot shut down completely when workers strike, in order to maintain critical, and in many cases, life-saving services.
- Industrial action is disruptive for everyone – from people relying on essential services to get to work or care for their family, to hard-working business owners whose sales suffer.
- That is why we are inviting trade unions to meet for constructive conversations about fair and affordable public sector pay for 2023-24, ensuring evidence submitted to the pay review bodies is as considered and informed as possible.
- We are also introducing new laws to guarantee minimum safety levels in vital public services, including health, education, fire services, transport and border security, restoring the balance between those seeking to strike and protecting the public from disproportionate disruption.
- Introducing minimum safety levels will ensure the public are not put at risk during strike action and is the best way of balancing the right to strike with our duty to protect the wider public.
It is right that unions have a say and indeed many of the issues that unions highlight are not always known to MPs unless they've worked in that sector previously. Unions have an important role, but repeatedly shutting down infrastructure helps nobody. I hope the talks will progress well and that both sides can come out feeling more confident about the situation.