Plaid Cymru has called on the Labour-run Welsh Government to demand the devolution of employment law rights to Wales to protect workers’ right to strike from Westminster’s draconian anti-strike legislation.
In a debate in the Senedd on Wednesday 1st of March, Plaid Cymru will argue that by devolving this power over of employment law to Wales in order to secure the collective rights and bargaining powers of workers. The Labour Party, however, has admitted that there is an attack on workers’ rights, but have not backed calls to devolve the powers to Wales.
The UK Government’s Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill, which is currently going through parliament will seek to introduce new requirements for workers and trade unions when engaging in strike action. If they do not comply with those regulations, trade unions would face losing legal protections against being sued. Similarly, employees would lose protections against unfair dismissal for taking part in industrial action.
Plaid Cymru’s Economy spokesperson, Luke Fletcher MS, has expressed concern at the Labour Welsh Government’s constant promises of a Labour UK Government that would right the wrongs of the Conservatives, rather than seeking to devolve powers to protect rights and improve lives now.
Plaid Cymru has also said that Labour’s opposition to devolving the powers over workers’ rights in Wales puts them at odds with their own Social Partnership and Public Procurement (Wales) Bill, which was introduced to the Senedd in June 2022. The aim of this bill is to improve public services through ‘social partnership working, promoting fair work and socially responsible public procurement’. It will embed the Welsh Government commitment to make Wales a ‘fair work nation’ within the framework of the Well-Being of Future Generations Act, as well as formalising a tripartite system of relations between unions, government, and employers in the public sector.
Luke Fletcher MS, said:
“Plaid Cymru believes that the right to strike for fair pay and safe work conditions should be an integral part of the rights of citizens in Wales and throughout the UK. The Conservative Westminster Government is intent on taking away this right through their draconian anti-strike law, and the Labour government in Wales doesn’t seem to want the power to protect it.
“The current legislation that Westminster is intent on trying to pass would seek to fine or fire unions and workers in health, fire and rescue, education, transport, nuclear and radioactive waste, and border security.
“These key workers keep the country running, so their ability to engage in lawful industrial action is an essential bargaining tool in order to ensure safe working environments and fair pay.
“Plaid Cymru will continue to support workers’ rights, as we have showed throughout every strike over the winter. The absence of the Labour Party on these picket lines has been noticed across all parts of Wales and the UK. They must now take every opportunity to protect our workers and they can do this by backing our calls and devolving powers over workers’ rights in Wales, and by doing so, secure them.”