Labour Market

Minimum service levels are par for the course


In the Media

Julian Jessop writes in The Telegraph

Energy and Environment

Matthew Lesh writes for City AM

Prof. Len Shackleton writes for CapX

IEA Labour Market Expert Professor Len Shackleton has written in CapX defending the government’s bill to guarantee a minimum level of service in certain sector to mitigate the impact of strikes.

Len wrote:

“In common law set-ups such as we have historically enjoyed, you are perfectly free to strike. However, as this involves a breach of an employment contract – just as would disruption to any other contract – it is potentially actionable at law. Thus trade unions have been given ‘immunities’ from criminal (since 1871) or civil (since 1906) sanctions for strike action. These immunities have always been subject to certain conditions being met, including (since Mrs Thatcher’s day) properly conducted secret ballots.

“In any case, there are clear examples of similar legislation on minimum service provision in a number of European countries – Spain, France and Italy are frequently mentioned – so we are nothing like the anti-union pariah that the TUC disingenuously claims.

“In fact, many continental jurisdictions ban strikes outright in key sectors. For example in Germany civil servants (including university staff and many schoolteachers) are prohibited from strike action. So are some categories of Danish civil servants; the same is true in Czechia and Slovakia, where fire and rescue workers, air traffic controllers, health workers and various other miscellaneous categories are also banned from striking.”

Read Len’s full piece here.

Len has previously questioned whether minimum strike provisions would actually be effective in mitigating the impact of strikes in CapX.