27 March 2013
Over 3,000 civil servants may be forbidden from taking industrial action if proposed legislation in the Crime and Courts Bill is allowed to pass into law.
The Bill, which is currently in its last stages of debate, seeks to create a new police force for serious and organised crime called the National Crime Agency. Clauses 12 of the Bill states that workers for this department will be barred from any right to strike.
John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, tried to fight against this move and protect workers’ rights, describing the proposals in Parliament on March 13th as “the thin end of the wedge” in a long-running ideological campaign driven by Conservative backbenchers to remove the right to strike from all workers.
Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd was in favour of McDonnell’s amendment to remove Clauses 12 and 13, stating: “The Government seem to regard the serious-minded people who will be working in this field as little less than children who might run off on a whim and call a strike for no reason at all. The quality of those people does not indicate that that is the kind of thing they would do, but I do not think they should be deprived of rights that most workers are accorded.”
Clause 13 provides the Secretary of State of the Home Office to decide the pay, allowances and terms and conditions of NCA workers through regulation.
On March 25th, the TUC urged the House of Lords to reject such retrograde clauses when they are debated among the peers.
“The right to strike is a fundamental human right,” TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said. “We fear that [the Bill] … is the beginning of an attack on the rights of those working in the public sector to take industrial action.”
Join leading members of Unison, PCS, GMB, Unite and the TUC in debate over the government’s campaign to shrink the state and how unions should retaliate at the IER’s Public Sector: cuts, privatisation and employment rights conference
Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary
Karen Jennings, UNISON Assistant General Secretary
Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services
Pamela Cole, PCS Policy Officer
Rachael Maskell, Unite
John Medhurst, PCS
Victoria Phillips, Thompsons Solicitors
Gary Palmer, GMB Regional Organiser