Your web browser is outdated and may be insecure

The RCN recommends using an updated browser such as Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome

RCN calls for ‘not fit for purpose’ anti-strike bill to be scrapped

22 Feb 2023

We continue to scrutinise the proposed legislation as an independent review has concluded the bill is lacking.

Members on a picket line outside Queen Elizabeth Hospital

The Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) has published its opinion on the UK government’s new anti-strike plans, condemning them as “not fit for purpose”. 

The RPC, an independent body, released its report ahead of the bill’s second reading in the House of Lords. It found that the UK government had not considered all impacts of the bill and had not backed up its assumptions with evidence. 

It also found that the government had not properly assessed how the bill could make strikes worse, nor did it consider or discuss the rationale behind workers’ decisions to strike. 

We’re calling for the government to drop the bill, and instead work with unions to address the many ongoing industrial disputes.

RCN General Secretary & Chief Executive Pat Cullen said: “This is a damning assessment of the government’s attempt to stifle the rights of workers. The independent committee is saying the bill is not fit for purpose and should essentially go ‘back to the drawing board’. 

“The government is ploughing ahead with an ill thought through bill that allows for nursing staff to be sacked for taking otherwise lawful strike action.

“Ministers would be better listening to the mounting opposition, drop the bill entirely and work with unions to resolve these disputes.” 

The bill proposes that there should be a basic level of service when industrial action takes place. This would allow an employer to bring an injunction to prevent strike action and to seek damages afterwards if trade unions don’t comply. It also introduces the possibility of nursing staff being sacked for taking otherwise lawful strike action. 

Page last updated - 23/07/2023