TUC Special Congress December 9th – call General Strike to smash Tory anti-union laws

FBU members at a TUC 'Defend the right to strike' rally in Parliament Square in May

THE TUC said yesterday it will hold a special Congress to discuss the next stage of the campaign against the Tories’ anti-strike laws.

The event will take place at Congress House on Saturday 9th December 2023, from 10am-1pm, and more details will follow in the coming weeks, including on media accreditation.

The TUC said: ‘It is rare for the TUC to seek to convene the whole trade union movement at a special Congress outside of the TUC’s usual flagship annual event in September.

‘A special Congress last took place over 40 years ago in 1982, to fight Margaret Thatcher’s anti-union legislation.

‘The TUC points to exceptional circumstances given the “unprecedented attack on the right to strike”.

‘The announcement comes after the government laid regulations for minimum service levels in rail, the ambulance service and border security.

‘Ministers have said these new rules will be rushed into force by the end of the year. Ministers are also consulting on rules affecting workers in hospital settings, schools, universities and fire services.

‘This is despite warnings from unions and employer groups that the plans are unworkable.

‘The laws will mean that when workers lawfully vote to strike, they could be forced to attend work – and sacked if they don’t comply.

‘TUC research found a massive 1-in-5 workers in Britain – or 5.5 million workers – are at risk of losing their right to strike as a result of the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act.’

TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak said: ‘After 13 long years of Conservative government, nothing works in this country anymore.

‘But instead of getting on with fixing the mess they have created, the Conservatives are hellbent on making things worse.

‘These new laws represent an unprecedented attack on the right to strike. They are unworkable, undemocratic and almost certainly in breach of international law.

‘This is the last thing our crumbling public services or our dedicated frontline workers need – these draconian laws will poison industrial relations and drag out disputes.

‘The UK already has some of the most restrictive trade union laws in Europe. Now the Tories want to make it even harder for people to win fair pay and conditions.

‘That’s why we are calling this once-in-a-generation special Congress.

‘Unions will keep fighting this spiteful legislation. We won’t stop until it is repealed.’

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘Any employer that seeks to issue a work notice will find themselves in a further dispute with my union.’

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: ‘This hostile legislation is an attempt by one of the most right-wing governments in recent history to essentially criminalise the act of strike action and to punish civil servants, railway workers and ambulance staff for their audacity over the past year to demand a fair pay rise at a time of skyrocketing inflation.’