The UK Joint Committee on Human Rights Monday declared that the UK Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill does not “meet the UK’s human rights obligations.” The legislation was proposed in January 2023 by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government to ensure public services maintain “basic function” during industrial actions.The Committee’s primary concerns revolved around the bill’s compliance with Article 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights: the right to freedom of assembly and association. The bill does not specify the levels of a minimum service that the Secretary of State can impose during strike action. In their report, the Committee highlighted that this vagueness “risks a failure to comply with the Article 11 requirement” and suggested a limit should be introduced. Other concerns included the “high” penalties for breaking strike related laws, as well as the Government’s argument that there is a “pressing social need” for the bill, as case which the Committee stated “has not been adequately made.”The Committee called for evidence ten days after the bill was revealed. The Committee stated that the inquiry analysed “how this Bill meets the human rights standards to which the United Kingdom is committed and by which the Government is legally bound” and was not concerned with human rights standards of other European nations.Multiple Members of Parliament (MP) have condemned the bill, which was proposed amid mass strike action in the UK by university staff, lecturers and nurses. Labour Party MP Dianne Abbott commented on the Joint Committee’s report, saying that the legislation “trample[s] on human rights, workers’ rights and trade union freedoms.”

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