In a wide-raging interview with The Morning Star Mick Lynch has slammed the government’s new anti-strike legislation.
It comes as today up to half-a-million civil servants, teachers and train drivers have walked out simultaneously in the most significant day of industrial action many years.
The government warned the public that the coordinated strikes would cause “significant disruption.”
MPs have backed plans aimed at enforcing minimum service levels for some sectors during strikes.
Under the bill, some employees, including in the rail industry and emergency services, would be required to work during industrial action – and could be sacked if they refuse.
The bill passed by 315 votes to 246 but will face further scrutiny in the House of Lords before it becomes law.
“They’ll be able to direct and name individual workers that have to cross a picket line,” Lynch says to the Morning Star when discussing the new legislation.
“If they don’t do that, that person can be dismissed, the unions can be fined very extensively and companies and service uses could even sue unions, which could destroy trade unionism.
“It’s not just the immediate effect of diluting strike action or attacking democracy and human rights which is wrong, it’s actually the practical outcomes on unions.
“That’ll make striking harder to do, but we’ll have to find other ways of taking industrial action, so I think it’ll actually entrench disputes and make them harder to resolve.”
Attack on freedom
“It’s an attack on freedom. We need to explain to people that if they take these freedoms away, others such as the right to assemble or even protest to hold the government to account will be under threat.”
His comments on Grant Shapps are funny but also close to the truth?
“I think everyone outside of Grant Shapps’s head is uncomfortable with this legislation. I’m not sure employers like it, and even business organisations don’t understand how it’s going to work.”