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Repeal the Anti-Strikes Bill: Why Organise members want party leaders to pledge their support for repealing the anti-strike bill

After the UK government passed their anti-strikes bill, which limits workers' right to strike, Organise members call on party leaders to commit to repealing the bill in their election manifestos. Here's why.

Chloe Green
June 13, 2023

Over the last few years, the UK has seen unprecedented strikes across a number of industries, as public sector workers protest unsafe conditions and over a decade’s worth of real terms pay cuts.

Strikes are a last resort taken by workers and trade unions after negotiations with employers fail. Although public sector workers, including rail and NHS workers, are striking for our safety and the sustainability of their service, the government is pushing through their Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill.

This bill enforces minimum service levels in the public sector by restricting workers’ ability to strike. Under the new bill, when workers democratically vote to strike, they could be forced to work - and even be sacked if they refuse.

But with a general election around the corner, thousands of Organise members are calling on party leaders to pledge to repeal the bill in their general election manifestos.

Here are just a few messages Organise members are sending to party leaders:

"It is our democratic right to be able to seek redress over matters that affect our every day lives. We work to live, not live to work. Without the option of striking we have no other way to peacefully raise objections as to standards that affect our working conditions, our health and safety, our well being in work."

"The freedom to strike is a basic human right - please say you'll protect that"

"The right to withdraw labour to ensure decent pay and working conditions is a precious thing in our country. Employees here are protected and treated as they should be and to remove this law, which was fought for and won many generations ago, puts that at risk. Employers do not own their staff - they have to be able to be challenged and made to listen to what workers need and want. We are supposed to live in a democracy and that involves everyone having rights and being able to stand up for what is right. Removing the right to strike is completely anti-democratic so this bill should be scrapped."

The right to withdraw one's labour is a fundamental human right. It's also an effective weapon of last resort when an employer refuses to act fairly towards its employees.

"The right to strike is fundamental to the balance of power between workers and the owners of capital. Wealth has been shifting towards capital for decades now, and workers are being priced out of home ownership, university education and even a healthy diet. Supporting labour rights, including the right to strike, is vital of we want this country to continue to function."

"The right of working people to withdraw their labour is something which was fought hard for by previous generations. It is fundamental that it should be upheld in a democracy."

"Striking is one of few ways we have of achieving workers rights. Without it employers can keep wages low and work conditions poor. Collective protest is power."

How else can workers fight for fair pay? Nobody wants to strike, but if pay is eroded in real terms, while inflation increases, then workers should have the right to withhold their labour.

"The right to withhold labour is the last but oh too often necessary resort which enables workers to be listened to at the bargaining table. Also, if this hard fought for right is made illegal then bosses can walk all over their workers"

"They should pledge to repeal the right to strike as our fathers and forefathers had to fight and suffer to get workers the pay and conditions they deserved and at times this included withdrawing their labour in order to make fat cat bosses and governments sit up and listen. Without this right employees will be walked all over."

"Without it workers are vulnerable to exploitation over pay, conditions, and health and safety"

For my part, and I hope others, you will only get my vote if you make this a manifesto pledge.

"People are striking because they are desperate and being exploited and underpaid. This is the only means we have of asking for justice."

"The right to strike has been a cornerstone of our democracy for many decades, ensuring that working people have a voice in drawing attention to their grievances."

"The right to strike is essential to the balance between employed and employer. Without it the employed have no lever to maintain fair pay and conditions and in a capitalist environment this would mean inequality of such levels as to result in social chaos. It is also a basic human right of self determination."

"In difficult times workers should not be abused and be held to ransom by employers"

"Everybody has a right to strike our parents and grandparents fought for their rights to strike. It’s our democracy we need a fair living wage."

"This is attacking an important part of our democracy - the right to strike and for workers to join forces to improve their employment conditions. Like the right to peaceful protest, it is important to be able challenge the system in order to ensure it is fair."

"If the right to strike is made illegal it will allow employers to exploit their employees and make wage increases a thing of the past"

“Striking is the only power that employees have to defend their conditions of work and levels of pay. Historically, it has been the withdrawal or the threat of the withdrawal of labour that has, in the end, protected workers from worsening work conditions. Civilised societies have recognised this but in the UK since the ‘70s, little-by-little pay and conditions have been eroded to such an extent that key workers with families are having to depend on charitable food banks to live. This is shameful.”

Stand alongside workers fighting to make working life better – it takes just a second to add your name to the open letter here.

Are you a party leader, MP, or prospective parliamentary candidate? If you'd like to pledge your support for repealing the bill, get in touch with the Organise team on

Chloe Green

Chloe is a campaigner and strategist at Organise.