To: All Branches, Regional Councils and Regional Organisers
25th May 2017
Circular No. NP82/17
2017 General Election – Tory Manifesto proposals to attack rail workers right to strike
I am writing to draw your attention to the following extract from the Conservative Party Manifesto.
“We will work with train companies and their employees to agree minimum service levels during periods of industrial dispute – and if we cannot find a voluntary agreement, we will legislate to make this mandatory.”
This proposal is a deliberate attack on your union. It is an attack on the right of rail workers to take effective strike action. It is intended to weaken us in our battle to defend jobs, safety and conditions of service.
Whilst the details of how this draconian proposals will work in practice are not yet clear it will mean that even if members democratically vote for strike action that ballot will be undermined by the requirement to provide a “minimum” service.
This attack comes on top of the Tory Trade Union Act which recently came into force which as you know amongst other measures required higher ballot thresholds and a requirement for two weeks notice of action.
This latest proposals is particularly dangerous as it means that even when the union is able to legally overcome the various hurdles in balloting legislation that won't be enough because there will still be a requirement to provide a "minimum service".
Moreover whilst the proposals currently only apply to rail services they will no doubt be extended to other transport sectors and beyond.
These proposals will only be enacted if the Tories win the election.
We can stop them by campaigning to defeat the Tories in this election and instead help deliver a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn. Please do all you can to help achieve that goal.