A photo of Unison placards reading "Official Picket"

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has agreed to adopt an approach of non-compliance with new anti-strike laws. This will see the trade union movement go head to head with the government over ‘minimum service’ legislation passed by parliament in July.

Under the Minimum Service Levels Act employers in fire and rescue, health, education, transport and other key sectors will be able to ensure a minimum service is provided on strike dates. This would allow them to require named workers to work despite strike action having been agreed and could used to force trade unions to facilitate their own members crossing picket lines.

The TUC made the decision on this strategy at its annual congress this week, after delegates passed a motion which read: “We have no choice but to build mass opposition to the MSLs laws, up to and including a strategy of non-compliance and non-cooperation to make them unworkable, including industrial action.”

Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack, who was elected as TUC President on Wednesday, said: “The passing of this motion today is a message of defiance to the government – the trade union movement will defend itself against these draconian new laws. The TUC is now committed to a policy of resistance to the Minimum Service Levels Act, up to and including non-compliance.

“This government’s nasty, authoritarian agenda will be vigorously opposed by the trade union movement. Undermining the right to strike is an attack on the wages and living standards of working people. These are the actions of a regime that has no mandate for its policies.

“We will now go about building a campaign that can beat the anti-union laws. The trade union movement has defied anti-strike laws in the past and won, and it must be prepared to do so again.”

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Image credit: Roger Blackwell – Creative Commons