Margaret Greenwood MP has spoken out against the government’s Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill.
The Wirral West MP was taking part in a parliamentary debate on the legislation that would allow the government to make regulations setting out the minimum service levels required during strikes in certain sectors including health, education and transport.
Unions and workers would have to comply with these minimum service levels or face losing protections against being sued or dismissed.
Labour and trade unions have described the bill as an attack on working people’s freedoms and they have said that it is unworkable and impractical.
The bill is currently at the ‘ping-pong’ stage in parliament, where it gets passed between the House of Commons and the House of Lords as MPs and peers try to agree on its final wording.
Contributing to the debate, Margaret Greenwood MP said that she had heard from a number of doctors in Wirral West stating that the bill represents an intrusion on legitimate trade union activities, undermines workers’ rights to representation, and would leave unions unable to effectively represent their members.
The Wirral West MP also suggested that the bill could damage relationships within workplaces, particularly in places such as schools and hospitals which operate through staff collaborating with each other.
Speaking after taking part in the debate, Margaret Greenwood MP said, “I have consistently spoken out against this pernicious piece of legislation during its passage through parliament.
“It is clearly unworkable and impractical, and it is a fundamental attack on working people’s freedoms.
“It has been widely criticised by legal experts, as well as by the Director General of the International Labour Organisation and the US Labor Secretary.
“Many Wirral West residents have written to me to say how appalled they are by the bill.
“The right to strike is a basic human right and it should be protected.
“The government should scrap this bill and instead come forward with a plan to boost recruitment and retention across the public sector.”