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Labour urged to work with SNP to block planned strike legislation

Sir Keir Starmer has been challenged to team up with the SNP to defeat the UK Government’s legislative plans for minimum service levels during strikes.

Stephen Flynn, the SNP’s Westminster leader, has written to Sir Keir to request a meeting to discuss how to defeat the policy proposals, which he called an “attack on workers’ rights”.

The UK Government announced on Thursday it would press on with plans to introduce new legislation for “minimum safety levels” during industrial action.

The Bill will be introduced in Parliament in the coming weeks to ensure vital public services – including fire, ambulance and rail – maintain a “basic function” when workers go on strike.

Prime Minister’s Questions
SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn said the proposals are an “attack on workers’ rights” (House of Commons/PA)

Mr Flynn also urged the Labour leader to drop his party’s opposition to devolving employment law to Scotland amid the proposed changes.


In his letter, he told Sir Keir: “Our own political differences are many and obvious, but I genuinely hope that, when it comes to this immoral Tory attack, we can find common cause and work together to defend workers’ rights and defeat this legislation.”

Mr Flynn said: “This immoral Tory attack shows workers’ rights will always be vulnerable while Scotland is stuck under Westminster control.

“The legislation has been criticised by trade unions and opposition politicians.

“Independence is the only way to guarantee the rights of working people are protected and strengthened.

“Millions of workers across Scotland have already seen their pay and condition systematically eroded by Westminster. Brexit, austerity cuts, and regressive policies have been imposed against Scotland’s will – causing catastrophic long-term damage.”

He added: “The Labour Party worked hand-in-glove with the Tories to block the devolution of employment law to Scotland – and now they are doubling down on the damage done by backing Brexit and austerity cuts.

“Keir Starmer must finally confirm whether he will reverse the Labour Party’s opposition to the devolution of these essential powers.

“The SNP will fight tooth-and-nail against Westminster attacks on working people but on with the normal powers of an independent country can Scotland guarantee workers’ rights and build a fair and prosperous future.”

Scottish Labour economy spokesperson Daniel Johnson said: “This is desperate stuff from Stephen Flynn, pretending workers’ rights are safe in SNP hands while their government imposes pay deals on nurses and oversees thousands of Scottish workers forced to take industrial action to defend their conditions.

“Labour want to raise standards across our country which is why the next Labour government is committed to deliver a new deal for working people in Scotland and across the UK.

“Only a Labour government can stop these Tory attacks on workers’ rights and deliver a fairer deal for workers in every single part of the UK.”