Fifty Tory MPs have written an open letter demanding tougher strike laws amid the current Southern Rail strike.
Citing passenger misery, their letter calls for future strikes to be judged on whether industrial action on critical public infrastructure is “reasonable and proportionate”.
They also want a legal obligation for unions to operate a “skeleton” service of at least half during times of strike action.
In a letter sent to the Sunday Telegraph, Nick Herbert, Sir Gerald Howarth, and Dominic Raab, all former ministers said, “We fully respect the right to strike. But this right must now be balanced with the right of the wider public to get to work and get home to see loved ones.”
No End to the Dispute
Last week train services on Southern Rail came to a halt due to a three day strike. The dispute is ongoing with no end in sight.
The letter continues, “Recent strikes on critical public infrastructure have dealt a blow to the economy and caused widespread misery.
“For seven months now, 300,000 passengers using Southern Rail have been frequently unable to get to work due to official and unofficial strikes. People have had to quit their job as a result.
High Court Judges to Preside on Strikes
“In this dispute, no-one is losing their job or any pay. The Rail Regulator confirms there is no safety issue. The dispute is about who presses the button to open the doors.
“It is not fair that such wide-scale disruption can be caused on so flimsy a pretext. New legislation is needed to require strike action on public infrastructure to be ‘reasonable and proportionate’ in the eyes of a High Court Judge. There should also be a requirement for a skeleton service to still run on strike days.”
More industrial action is expected at the end of the month.