NHS strikes: Ray grills Grant Shapps on ‘scoring political points’
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Business Secretary Grant Shapps said the ability to strike is “rightly protected” but there must be a “reasonable balance” with the needs of the country. He told the Commons the legislation is “balanced, it’s reasonable and, above all, it is fair.”
“We need to be able to have confidence that when strikes occur people’s lives and livelihoods are not put at undue risk,” he said.
“It’s become clear from recent industrial action that this isn’t always the case.
“So we need to have a safety net in place to make sure the public don’t become collateral damage.”
Mr Shapps said life would be made “harder for every single family” in the country if the Government agreed to “inflation-busting” pay demands.
He said ministers were operating within the “context of a crisis in global growth.”
“Putin invaded Ukraine… what then happened to energy prices caused a crisis which has put up inflation throughout the western world.
“Those prices going up throughout the rest of the world, and here included, have also pushed up wage claims.
“But I don’t think we should get into a 1970s’ spiral where we end up with higher wage claims, higher wage settlements, higher wage claims and inflation continuing forever – that is a cycle that we must break.
“Clearly, if we’re to meet all the inflation-busting demands of the unions that wouldn’t just make life harder for some, it’d make life harder for every single family in this country, and that is why we cannot do that.”
Unions protested over the legislation, claiming it was a “pernicious attack” on the rights of working people to defend their rights.
Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack said: “The Prime Minister is seeking to steamroller extremely severe restrictions on the right to strike through Parliament today, without any meaningful scrutiny.”
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