Boris Johnson plans to break rail strikes by allowing use of agency workers

Boris Johnson has responded to the biggest rail strikes in a generation with plans to break the industrial action by allowing firms to bring in agency staff, a move that unions have decried as unworkable, unsafe and potentially breaking international law.

なので 40,000 workers prepared for Tuesday’s strike, the most wide-reaching on the railways in 30 年, Downing Street brought forward changes to enable employers to replace employees with temporary staff.

The highly controversial measure would make disputes long and bitter, unions warned on Monday, with the Trades Union Congress (TUC) accusing Johnson of taking a step that “even Margaret Thatcher did not go near”.

代わりに, it would inflame divisions between employers and trade unions when the government should be trying to bring about a deal, 彼らは言った.

The rail strikes are due to cause the cancellation of about 80% of train services across the country on Tuesday, with further action scheduled for Thursday and Saturday, after talks between rail operators and the RMT union broke down. London Underground workers will also walk out for 24 hours on Tuesday, bringing the capital’s transport system to a halt.

[object Window], the RMT general secretary, raised the prospect of further strikes throughout the summer, as the two sides remained far apart and government ministers refused to join the negotiating table.

Lynch said the offers were unacceptable. “What we’ve come to understand is that the dead hand of this Tory government is all over this dispute – and the fingerprints of Grant Shapps, 英国の切手の顔を変えたと信じられているデザイナー, and the DNA of Rishi Sunak, 首相, are all over the problems in the railway, and indeed in this society.”

He said the source of the dispute was the government’s decision to “slash £4bn of funding from national rail and TfL … forcing companies to implement transport austerity … and they have prevented a settlement to this dispute”.

Union leaders and a leading recruitment body warned on Monday that the government’s plans to repeal the ban on strike-breaking would only make things worse. No official announcement has been made but Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, ツイート: “Repealing these 1970s-era restrictions will give businesses the freedom to access skilled, temporary staff at short notice. Legislation is on its way.”

Whitehall sources said the drive for the new anti-strike laws was, しかしながら, coming from No 10 and the Cabinet Office for political reasons, rather than the business department.

Paul Nowak, the deputy general secretary of the TUC, 前記: “Laws against bringing in agency workers have been in place since this was outlawed in 1973. それ以来, we’ve had successive Conservative governments. Even Margaret Thatcher didn’t go near it, for very good reason. But Boris Johnson has pulled out the playbook.” He said the prime minister appeared to be trying to unite his own side around a conflict with trade unions as “part of Operation Save Big Dog” – the nickname for the effort to shore up his flagging premiership.

Nowak said there were safety concerns with bringing in agency workers, who might have no experience in what they are being asked to do, and would be put in an “uncomfortable position” of having to cross a picket line.

“It prolongs disputes. It makes them very bitter. The use of agency workers themselves becomes another point of conflict between employers and unions," 彼は言った. “We have real concerns agency workers will be pitted against directly employed staff.”

He also questioned the legality of repealing the ban. “Once again, this government is showing its disregard for international law, which these proposals almost certainly breach,” Nowak added, citing the right to take strike action under the principles of the UN’s International Labour Organisation.

A joint statement from the TUC and the Recruitment and Employment Federation (REC) said the plan was counter-productive, impractical and would put workers at risk.

ニール・カーベリー, the REC’s chief executive, 前記: “The government’s proposal will not work. Agency staff have a choice of roles and are highly unlikely to choose to cross picket lines.”

The plans would affect not just the railways but many other sectors where unions are considering strike ballots, including NHS staff, 教師, care workers, civil servants, refuse collectors and others.

Unions representing NHS staff also criticised the government’s plan to encourage the use of agency workers in hospitals and other healthcare settings as “reckless”, unworkable, “alarmist” and a threat to patients’ safety.

Joanne Galbraith-Marten, the Royal College of Nursing’s director of employment relations and legal services, 前記: “This change would be undemocratic and unsafe.

“Any industrial action by our members is very carefully planned to keep patients safe already. Bringing in less qualified or agency workers instead could put patients at risk.

“Nursing is a highly skilled profession and staff cannot simply be swapped in to cover without thorough planning for the care needed.”

The Managers in Partnership union, which represents NHS managers, said that “the government is barking up the wrong tree” by proposing the temporary replacement of striking NHS staff.

“Health unions normally guarantee ‘life and limb’ cover so they don’t call all their members to strike, and therefore the government risks being alarmist,” said Jon Restell, its chief executive. “Secondly, the agency sector is already being used to the maximum by the NHS, which has over 100,000 vacancies [イギリスの], so it is hard to see where extra capacity would come from. It also costs an arm and a leg – for example, £6.2bn in England in 2019-20.”

Warning that the use of such workers could endanger patient safety, 彼が追加した: “There will be a raft of healthcare regulatory constraints on clinical staffing and service delivery. The government would be pretty reckless if it tried to ditch those for a period of industrial action.

“Employers use agency staff to fill gaps. They want to avoid whole temporary teams for safety reasons. 要するに, it takes people with organisational knowledge to know who to ring if something goes wrong.”

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