After obtaining guarantees that the large unions would “campaign actively” for the UK to remain in the EU in the 2016 vote, the ex-PM abandoned proposed legislation to enable agency employees to break strikes.
Now, Rishi Sunak is trying to put a stop to Britain’s christmas strike mayhem, including perhaps reinstating the legal change that allows agency workers to cover employment shortages.
However, it will be too late for the hundreds of scheduled walkouts this month.
The two biggest unions, Unite and Unison, both supported Remain in 2016, with Frances O’Grady of the TUC playing a key role in the campaign, particularly in TV debates.
A bombshell leaked document reveals that No10 was ready to lift restrictions on “temporary/agency workers being hired during periods of industrial action,” but dropped the strike ban due to “a deal between the Cameron government and a number of trade unions, to persuade them to actively campaign for Remain in the EU referendum.”
Conservative MP Greg Smith called the undisclosed arrangement “deeply troubling.”
The Buckingham MP stated: “Militant unions are holding the country to ransom this Christmas, at a time when traders need the support at a time the economy is fragile and patients need to access treatment when Covid backlogs remain long.
“It is outrageous that the unions persist on their course to crash Britain.
“But it is equally disappointing to understand union reforms were watered down in the past in order to secure support for the EU.”
He added: “We need legislative action against militant unions and need it now.”
Downing Street said all measures were on the table to deal with strikes, but Labour slammed any new rules that would make industrial action more difficult.
Sir Keir Starmer said in Leeds: “I don’t think more legislation restricting the right to strike is the right way forward.”