A protest against controversial plans for a new law on strikes will be the start of a “mass movement” of resistance, a union leader has predicted.
A demonstration will be held opposite Downing Street on Monday to mark the second reading in Parliament of proposed legislation on providing minimum levels of service during industrial action.
The Bill is in response to the wave of strikes which has been sweeping across the country for months, in bitter disputes over pay, jobs, staffing and conditions.
Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack said: “The protest at Downing Street is the start of a mass movement of resistance to this pernicious attack on the rights of working people to defend their jobs, wages and conditions against attacks from their bosses or cutbacks from the Government.
— RMT (@RMTunion) January 16, 2023
“The Prime Minister is seeking to steamroller extremely severe restrictions on the right to strike through Parliament today, without any meaningful scrutiny.
“Firefighters and other key workers, who kept our public services going during Covid, are at Downing Street, to tell Rishi Sunak that they will not accept this dictatorial assault on their democratic rights
“Instead of launching draconian attacks on the rights of working people, the Prime Minister must provide the resources to resolve this dispute by paying firefighters and other workers a decent wage, to alleviate in-work poverty.”
Rail, Maritime and Transport general secretary Mick Lynch said: “The Government has decided to bring in this anti-worker law because it wants to make effective strike action illegal in Britain.
“Trades unionists and democrats from across the political spectrum must come together in the interests of civil liberties and human rights to oppose these measures.
“This violation of democratic norms and values will be strongly opposed by the RMT and the entire labour movement, in Parliament, the courts and the workplace, if it is put on the statute books.”
The TUC is organising a day of protests against the Bill on February 1, the same day as 100,000 civil servants will go on strike.