Unions must not abide by new minimum service laws, says FBU chief

Unions are urged to campaign to challenge the controversial new law on minimum service levels during strikes.

Fire Brigades Union (FBU) General Secretary Matt Wrack called for “massive non-cooperation and non-compliance” with the Minimum Service Levels Bill currently before Parliament.

The FBU said the TUC should convene an emergency conference to launch a campaign of defiance and civil disobedience against the bill if it becomes law.

National demonstrations and sustained mass mobilizations may defeat the bill, the union said.

The breach of the bill would be one of the most significant attempts by unions to challenge the labor law since the 1984-1985 miners’ strike, the FBU said.

Matt Wrack said the breach strategy was needed as there was “no obvious route to challenge this attack through the courts.”

He said: “The Minimum Service Level Bill is one of the most draconian attacks on workers’ rights in decades.

“This is pernicious legislation that goes along with authoritarian regimes around the world.

“The government is deliberately trying to strengthen the position of employers and severely weaken the position of workers. They are doing this for one purpose: to reduce wages.

“Ministers are bulldozing this anti-worker legislation in Parliament and trampling the democratic process by trying to avoid scrutiny.

“The Fire Union will fiercely resist this attack on our democratic rights, but it is an attack on all workers.

“A massive non-compliance movement can defeat this attack on workers by making the legislation unworkable.

“The TUC can lead this resistance movement, first by calling an emergency congress, then a national demonstration and a sustained campaign of non-cooperation.

“The government is trying to ban effective strikes and giving employers the power to fire workers who do not comply with this legislation.

“However, a unified strategy of mass resistance can render this law inoperative and stop it in its tracks.”


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