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Written Statement: Welsh Government’s Stance on the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill

Two Senedd members (Credits: ITVX)

The UK Government introduced the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill on January 10. It passed the second reading on January 16 and completed its passage through the House of Commons on January 30.

However, it did so without publishing an impact assessment, which is essential for proper scrutiny. The First Minister wrote to the UK Government on January 16 to convey the Welsh Government’s stance, and we are releasing that letter today.

The Welsh Government strongly opposes this Bill, considering it damaging and unnecessary. It is detrimental because it is rushed, lacks detail, and intrudes on devolved public services.

Written Statement (Credits: IER)

It is unnecessary because it undermines workers’ rights and trade unions without resolving industrial disputes. There’s a concern that this legislation may escalate strike action by undermining the space for genuine negotiations.

The Bill affects several devolved public services under Welsh Ministers’ responsibility and accountability. It would grant UK Ministers extensive powers to set minimum service levels during strikes in fully devolved areas like health and education.

This encroachment is unwarranted as UK Ministers lack electoral mandate in these areas. Welsh Ministers hold strategic oversight and are accountable to the Senedd for their decisions. UK Ministers should not interfere with matters beyond their jurisdiction; disregarding these concerns is reckless.

Senedd Members (Credits: Wales Online)

There was no consultation with the Welsh Government, trade unions, or employers before the Bill’s publication. The first discussions occurred when the UK Ministers announced their intentions in a press release. This lack of engagement before introducing the Bill is unacceptable and could have been easily avoided.

We are actively exploring all options to shield Wales and its devolved public services from the detrimental effects of this harmful Bill. In the coming weeks, we will issue further public statements on our position and keep Senedd Members informed about our actions.

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