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Government pressing ahead with ‘minimum safety levels’ legislation

The announcement was made amid a wave of strikes, including a walkout by train drivers on Thursday which crippled rail services.

05 January 2023

The Government is pressing ahead with plans to introduce new legislation for “minimum safety levels” during industrial action.

The Business Department announced that a Bill will be introduced in Parliament in the coming weeks to ensure that vital public services will have to maintain a “basic function” when workers go on strike.

Minimum safety levels will be set for fire, ambulance and rail services and the Government said it will consult on the “adequate level of coverage” for these sectors.

The announcement was made amid a wave of strikes, including a walkout by train drivers on Thursday which crippled rail services.

Unions reacted with fury to the move, saying it would do nothing to resolve the disputes breaking out across the country every week.

Business Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We hugely value the work of our public services and we’re reaching out to unions to have an honest conversation on pay, conditions and reform.

“Industrial action is disruptive for everyone – from people relying on essential services to get to work or care for their family to hard-working business owners whose sales suffer. It also costs those striking at a time when family budgets are tight.

“As well as protecting the freedom to strike, the Government must also protect life and livelihoods. While we hope that voluntary agreements can continue to be made in most cases, introducing minimum safety levels – the minimum levels of service we expect to be provided – will restore the balance between those seeking to strike and protecting the public from disproportionate disruption.”

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