How ironic. Just as he is trying to get rid of dozens of laws and regulations that the UK inherited from the EU, Rishi Sunak wants to emulate other EU countries and organize strikes in the public sector. But his plan is too broad and forced. To work, boundaries should not seem like an unusual reaction to Major labor unrest.
Proponents of control point to its economic cost. according to him Economics and Business Research Center Britain, in 2022 they cost the economy at least 1.9 billion euros in production losses. This may sound like a lot, but it equates to well under 0.1% of the UK’s GDP.
Balancing the right to strike with the need to keep essential services running is a balancing act for all governments, which tend to focus on public transport and health care, while schools or the power grid are subject to less stringent rules. In most countries, strikes are expressly prohibited in the police, judiciary or military. A third of German civil servants do not have the right to strike. France adds the strange shift of public radio and television being a very important sector.
But London’s plan seems tougher than anywhere else. Regulation by other governments has left much decision-making power in the hands of local authorities.
The first indication that the British plan is intended to be punitive is that it appears to be a direct, political response to the massive strikes on health and transport. The second indicator is the scope of the planned sectors and the room for maneuver left for the government to take drastic measures. The law will directly affect three sectors: trains, firefighters and ambulances. In other cases, such as education, border security or the dismantling of nuclear power plants, employers and unions will be left to agree on minimum services, but the government will be able to step in if they are not satisfied. A third sign of a punitive approach is that unions will be held accountable if they fail to provide minimum services.
Sunak has scope to approve the strike law in the public sector. Doing this in the midst of labor disputes, for political reasons, is not the best way to achieve your goal.
Authors columnists for Reuters. The opinions are yours. Translation Carlos Gomez DownWell, it’s a responsibility five days
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