An emergency demonstration is due to take place today at 6pm opposite 10 Downing Street.

Trade unions are staging an emergency demonstration outside Downing Street today to defend the right to strike.

It comes as the Commons gears up to vote on the anti-strikes legislation tonight. The Minimum Services Bill seeks to empower bosses to sue unions and sack staff in crucial sectors if minimum service levels aren’t maintained. The legislation covers health, education, rail, fire and borders, with the government insisting that it wants to ‘provide minimum safety and service levels’.

However, the legislation effectively means workers will be forced to go to work against their will and any worker who disobeys an order to work during a strike faces the sack.

Unions have slammed the proposed legislation as an attack on a fundamental human right, the right to strike and are now calling for a mass movement to oppose it.

An emergency demonstration is due to take place today at 6pm opposite 10 Downing Street.

Speakers include PCS president Fran Heathcote, Jo Grady, general secretary of the University and College Union (UCU), Paul Fleming, general secretary of Equity and speakers from the RMT.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This Bill puts power in the hands of the wrong people.

“It gives all the power to ministers and employers instead of our members who are being denied their democratic right to strike.

“It paves the way for workers who have voted for strike action being sacked if they refuse to turn up for work on a strike day. 

“We shall oppose this hostile legislation to protect our members’ rights.”

The RMT’s Mick Lynch said: “This Monday we’ll be doing an impromptu protest, along with other activists and other trade unionists outside Downing Street in Whitehall.

“So if you can get there for 6pm, join in with all the others and let’s keep this campaign moving to defend working people and to pursue these disputes until we get a resolution that we can support’.

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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