St Helens union boss calls for action over anti-strike rules

Demonstrators take part in a march through Manchester where today's Conservative Party conference opens in the city

Demonstrators take part in a march through Manchester where today's Conservative Party conference opens in the city

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Trade union bosses in St Helens have hit out at the government’s proposals to curb their powers.

Anthony Lockhart, Unison branch secretary of the St Helens and Knowsley branch, said the Trade Union Bill undermined the right of workers to strike.

He said: “The Bill suggests that employers should be able to employ inexperienced agency workers to cover for strikes.

“This could have a major impact on safety of the public, lead to worse public services, and will undermine the right to strike.

“It will bring in major new restrictions on peaceful picketing and protests. This means that striking workers will have to tell their employer all their plans – including what they will post on Facebook - two weeks before the strike.

“No-one wants to go on strike – and it’s always a last resort, when faced with an employer who won’t listen.

“Indeed, strikes are at a historic low. But threatening the right to strike means that workers won’t be able to defend jobs or services, or stand up for safety and decency at work.

“It will tip the balance in the workplace too far in favour of the employer.

“I am calling on our local MPs in the St Helens and Knowsley Constituency’s, Marie Rimmer, George Howarth and Connor McGinn to vote against this unnecessary attack on the right to strike in Parliament.

“And I’ll be heading down to London on 2 November to ask for their support at the TUC’s national lobby of Parliament I hope that your readers will join with me in campaigning against the Bill.”