Government strike proposals miss the point and will lead to further distrust

5 January 2023

The government has today announced that it plans to invite unions around the table to forestall further strikes, but at the same time said it will be bringing in new legislation to enforce minimum service levels when people are on strike.

Whitehall Street Sign

The government focused on the public sector and pay review bodies but failed to mention that a majority of public servants are not covered by pay review bodies.

On the invitation for talks, Mike Clancy, General Secretary of Prospect , said:

“This hollow invitation ignores the fact that a majority of public sector workers are not covered by a pay review body, including nearly all civil servants. We have been calling for years for this to be rectified, something which the government has consistently ignored.

“These workers have been some of the most harshly treated over the past decade of real-terms pay cuts, and now the government is signalling its intent to leave them out once again.

“Our members have already indicated their willingness to take industrial action and there is nothing in this announcement that will persuade us not to proceed to a formal ballot as planned.”

Separately, one of the sectors covered in the government’s plans for minimum service levels was nuclear decommissioning.

Sue Ferns, Senior Deputy General Secretary of Prospect, said:

“The UK already has some of the most restrictive trade union legislation in the world. These proposals show a complete lack of understanding of the nuclear industry.

“In large parts of the sector there are already agreements in place on minimum safe staffing levels in the event of industrial action taking place. These will vary depending on circumstances at each facility and all sides have judged them to work well in the past.

“The government says it does not seek to undermine voluntary agreements, so why has it included the sector in the legislation at all?

“All it will do is further erode trust between unions and the government.”

two energy workers


From generation to transmission, Prospect represents the interests of over 22,500 members working across all parts of the energy sector.

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