Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill

Zahn, Rebecca (2023) Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill. Edinburgh Law Review. ISSN 1364-9809 (In Press)

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On 10 January 2023, Grant Shapps (the then Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy), introduced the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill in the House of Commons following a period of prolonged industrial action across a number of sectors, caused in part by the cost-of-living crisis. The Bill expands on a commitment made in the Conservative Party's 2019 manifesto to require minimum service levels during transport strikes. The government had already introduced the Transport Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill in October 2022 but its progress through the legislative process had stalled. The prospect of strikes in a range of public services prompted the replacement of the Transport Strikes Bill by the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill, which enables the implementation of minimum service levels in a number of sectors – going beyond transport to include five other sectors – during periods of strike action. To that end, the Bill amends the current law regulating industrial action and limits the protections afforded to trade unions and workers taking lawful action. Unsurprisingly, the Bill has attracted a considerable amount of controversy. At time of writing in June 2023, the Bill had passed the third reading in the House of Lords and was going back and forth between the House of Commons and House of Lords with disagreement centring on a small number of amendments.


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