Minimum Service Levels: Code of Practice on reasonable steps published

Government opens consultation on draft Code of Practice

1 Sep 2023| News

The Government has published a new draft statutory Code of Practice on the ‘reasonable steps’ a trade union should take to be compliant with the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023.

The consultation follows up the passing into law of the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act which gained Royal Assent last month. This would allow the government to set service levels in key sectors such as transport, border security and emergency services during priods of industrial action.

The TUC has condemned the terms of the consultation as a “sham”. General Secretary of the TUC Paul Nowak said:

“No matter how much the government tries to spin it, the Conservatives are brazenly attacking the right to strike. This is a sham consultation. Ministers have ignored a mountain of evidence on how these laws are unworkable and will escalate disputes.

Every decent employer must reject this blatant attempt at union busting. They should do everything in their power to avoid using this counterproductive legislation – and tell government to rethink these regulations which will poison industrial relations and drag out disputes.”

Business minister Kevin Hollinrake said the government supported the right to strike but believed this “must be balanced with the public’s right to access essential services and get on with their daily lives.”

Under the new Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act, where the relevant trade union gives notice of strike action, employers will be able to issue a work notice ahead of the strike, to specify the workforce required to maintain necessary and safe levels of service.

The consultation invites trade unions, employers and workers a chance to provide feedback on whether the proposals “set out a clear and fair process for trade unions to follow to ensure members comply with a work notice.”

The draft code of practice can be found here.

The consultation document can be found here.

Unions and employers can respond to the consultation here. The closing date for responses is the 6th October 2023.