Furious union bosses have accused the Conservatives of treating workers like “slaves” after the party announced plans to ban all-out rail strikes.
The party wants to introduce a guaranteed minimum service, which would come into force when walkouts happen.
Falling below a set number of trains, which would be agreed in advance by train operators and unions, would make any strike action unlawful.
It is not clear what would happen if either party refuses to agree to such a stipulation.
Without suggesting what the minimum service should be, the party said that similar measures exist in many European countries and vary between a fifth and a third of normal service.
“Rail strikes have a real impact on people’s lives,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.
“They seriously inconvenience businesses and the public, damage the economy, and force people to use less sustainable means of transport.”
But unions were quick to hit out at the policy.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said the union would “fight any attempt to strip our members of their basic human rights”.
“Banning strikes is the hallmark of the right wing junta, not a democratically elected British government,” he said.
RMT members on South Western Railway will go on strike for 27 days next month as part of a long-running dispute over guards on trains.
On Saturday, RMT members on West Midlands Trains were striking over the same issue.
Mick Whelan, general secretary of the train drivers’ union Aslef, said: “The right to strike – to withdraw your labor – is a fundamental human right. We are not slaves.
“Aslef has rarely called a strike and, when we have, it has always been as a last resort and as a result of management intransigence.
” We are not, however, surprised that Boris Johnson and his cronies want to make it even more difficult for hard working men and women to protect their jobs, pay, terms and conditions.
“Johnson only acts on behalf of the boss class in Britain. “
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