Unions will have to put pay offers to members’ vote in fresh crackdown on crippling strikes

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Unions will be forced to vote on wage offers among their members as Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng plans a new crackdown on crippling strikes.

In his ’emergency budget’ this morning, Mr Kwarteng announced new laws to ensure that industrial action can only take place if talks between employers and unions ‘have really failed’.

The Chancellor’s move comes in anticipation of another wave of crippling railway strikes slated for this fall.

Train drivers who are members of the ASLEF union will organize a nationwide strike on both October 1 and 5 – causing chaos for those attending the London Marathon and the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.

RMT has also warned that they will “effectively shut down the rail network” on Oct. 8 as part of their long-running dispute over wages, jobs and conditions.

Royal Mail employees are planning strikes for September 30 and October 1, while the Royal College of Nursing is calling on its members to vote in a vote for strike action next month.

Ahead of an looming ‘autumn of discontent’ – which follows widespread union action this summer – Mr Kwarteng unveiled the latest efforts to prevent further disruption.

Ministers have already promised legislation to require carriers to provide minimal service during strike actions – as promised in the conservative manifesto – in an effort to reduce the misery for commuters.

The chancellor went on to announce laws today to also force unions to consult their members about wage offers before calling for strike action.

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced new laws to ensure union action can only take place if talks between employers and unions 'have really failed'

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced new laws to ensure union action can only take place if talks between employers and unions ‘have really failed’

Chancellor's action comes ahead of another wave of crippling railway strikes slated for this fall

Chancellor's action comes ahead of another wave of crippling railway strikes slated for this fall

Chancellor’s action comes ahead of another wave of crippling railway strikes slated for this fall

RMT has warned that they will 'effectively shut down the rail network' on Oct. 8 as part of their long-running dispute over wages, jobs and conditions

RMT has warned that they will 'effectively shut down the rail network' on Oct. 8 as part of their long-running dispute over wages, jobs and conditions

RMT has warned that they will ‘effectively shut down the rail network’ on Oct. 8 as part of their long-running dispute over wages, jobs and conditions

Mr Kwarteng said: “Other European countries have minimum service levels to prevent militant unions from shutting down transport networks during strikes.

“So we’ll do the same. And we move on.

“We will legislate to oblige unions to submit wage offers to members, to ensure that the strike can only take place once negotiations have really broken down.”

Former Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who was fired this month by new Prime Minister Liz Truss, welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement.

“This is one of the items from my 16-point plan that I presented this summer for tackling ‘forever strikes’ and means that four of the measures are now in progress,” the ex-Cabinet Minister said.

Mick Lynch, the RMT’s general secretary, predicted that Mr Kwarteng’s announcement would “justifiably infuriate our members,” as he claimed Britain already has “the strictest anti-democratic union laws in Western Europe.”

“The government should work on a negotiated settlement in the national railway dispute, and not try to make it even more difficult to take effective strike action,” the union boss added.

“RMT and other unions will not stand idly by or meekly accept further impediments to their members from exercising the fundamental human right to retire.”

UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea demanded that the government “stop demonizing unions and seeing them as the enemy.”

“Strikes are a symptom of the cost of living crisis,” she said.

“Instead of making it harder for workers to get decent wages, ministers should talk to unions about ways to solve problems.

“Trying to mess up unions while pulling out all the stops for the urban elite just shows the workers that the government is not on their side.”

In addition to announcing strikes, Mr Kwarteng also used his ’emergency budget’ to reveal £45bn in tax cuts in a bid to revive the UK economy.

The Chancellor abolished the top tax rate of 45p for those earning more than £150,000, while pushing forward a 1p cut in the base rate from 20p to April next year.

He also confirmed that he would reverse the increase in national insurance contributions, scrap a planned corporate tax hike and abolish the maximum banker’s bonus for those who work in the city.

Union leaders accused Mr Kwarteng of “blatantly” boosting “the rich, the big business and the city” as public sector workers face a crisis in the cost of living.

Unite General Secretary, Sharon Graham said: ‘Billionaires and urban bankers will reconsider which tax havens to put their money in as millions of ordinary families continue to struggle to make ends meet.

“If there are billions of pounds available to spend, the best way to help the economy would be to give public sector workers a pay rise.”

Gary Smith, general secretary of GMB, claimed that the chancellor had chosen “to put money in the hands of wealthy multinationals.”

“The Chancellor is tough on health care pay increases and soft on bankers’ bonuses — today’s announcement has set an economy rigged against working people,” he said.

Our members want economic policies that work for everyone, not just the spies and speculators who have done very well from a Tory government

“The chancellor had a chance to come up with a new approach, but instead he failed his first and most important test.”

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