LONDON — Rishi Sunak’s plan to curb strike action in the U.K. could clash with the European Convention on Human Rights, a cross-party human rights committee has warned.
Faced with a wave of industrial action in recent months, the U.K. government has drawn up a law handing ministers the power to mandate minimum service levels in certain industries even on strike days. It means some workers would be forced to work through strikes or face the sack.
The laws would also make it easier to sack striking workers and clear the government to slap large fines on trade unions. Ministers say the legislation — due to be debated in the House of Lords Thursday — is needed to protect the public from strikes in the National Health Service and other emergency services.
But parliament’s joint committee on human rights — made up of cross-party MPs and peers — said the plans are “not justified and need to be reconsidered.”
In a new report, the committee warned the plan could clash with Article 11 of the ECHR, which covers freedom of association for workers.
Ministers are urged to consider whether “less severe measures” such as loss of pay or suspension from work for employees who don’t comply with work notices could be more effective.
“The government needs to think again and come back with legislation that better respects the protections guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights,” the committee’s chair Joanna Cherry said.