Strikes in essential services

Strikes in the essential services are banned in most major Western economies – but not in the UK. With co-ordinated strike action now being threatened by public sector unions, the Government should consider amending the Trade Union Act 2016 to further protect the public from the damage done by strike action writes Nicholas Finney in “Strikes in the Essential Services: time for further protection for the public?” published on Monday 18 September by the Centre for Policy Studies.

For it is the most vulnerable who are badly affected by strike action: mothers with young children, the sick, the elderly and those on low wages (who are less likely to be able to afford, for example, private transport in the case of a rail strike). Based on a detailed analysis of international attitudes to strikes in essential services, Finney warns that failure to protect the general public from the social and economic damage of strike action could lead to calls for the binding prohibition of strikes in the essential services.

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