Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said that the Government will limit the right of transport workers to take strike action under a Bill which will enshrine in law minimum service levels on key transport services, such as buses and trains.

“It is a basic right for workers to be able to get to work,” he argued. “The ability of a few people to prevent everyone from being able to earn a living has to come to an end.”

His comments have come under immediate attack from Unite, the union which represents tens of thousands of bus drivers.

Assistant General Secretary for Transport Diana Holland said: “These proposals miss the fundamental point that workers only ever take industrial action as a last resort. This is about generating headlines rather than improving services to the general public.”

She highlighted that workers who intend to take industrial action are already required to jump through a huge number of legal hoops in order to be able to show that their strike is legal.

In addition, there are specific legal restrictions in place concerning London bus services which makes it even more difficult for those workers to take industrial action.

“Commuters will know from bitter experience that Shapps’ idea of workers being forced to operate a ‘bare bones’ service could be worse than useless and potentially dangerous,” Ms Holland concluded.

The Transport Secretary said that the new law (presented in the Queen’s Speech) will prevent London being brought to a standstill, with all the additional environmental damage done by people reverting to cars.

Last reviewed 27 December 2019