The Daily Telegraph

Rees-mogg faces court review over right to strike

- By Oliver Gill

JACOB REES-MOGG is facing a High Court showdown with trade union chiefs over plans to reduce the impact of strike action.

Ministers plan to water-down industrial laws to allow agency workers to fill the roles of striking workers after businesses were hit by a “summer of discontent” amid the cost of living crisis.

Eleven trade unions, including Unite, GMB and the RMT, have launched a Judicial Review claiming the laws would undermine the right to strike.

Frances O’grady, TUC general secretary said: “The right to strike is a fundamenta­l British liberty.

“But the Government is attacking it in broad daylight. Threatenin­g this right tilts the balance of power too far towards employers.

“It means workers can’t stand up for decent services and safety at work – or defend their jobs and pay.

“Ministers failed to consult with unions, as the law requires. And restrictin­g the freedom to strike is a breach of internatio­nal law.”

Liz Truss is reportedly planning a “bonfire on workers’ rights” as she repeals EU laws that were brought in under Agency Workers Regulation­s more than a decade ago.

The Prime Minister also wants to follow through on Boris Johnson’s proposals to set minimum service levels during transport strikes as is the case in France and other EU countries.

The unions claim Mr Rees-mogg, the Business Secretary, failed to consult with them as is required by the Employment Agencies Act 1973. They also claim that changes would violate trade union rights under Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Richard Arthur from Thompsons Solicitors, representi­ng the unions, said: “The right to strike is respected and protected by internatio­nal law.”

Hundreds of dock workers at the Port of Liverpool began a two-week strike over pay yesterday and another round of industrial action at Felixstowe – the UK’S biggest container port – begins on Sept 27.

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