The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act, proposed by the UK government, is intended to ensure approximately 40% of rail services operate during strikes, including in Scotland. The legislation would also set minimum service requirements for border security staff across the UK.
Scottish cabinet secretary Neil Gray criticized the legislation, describing it as "appalling" and antithetical to fair work principles. Gray called for a more progressive approach to relations with trade unions and emphasized the need for improved worker protections.
He stated that the UK government's introduction of the Minimum Service Levels Act contradicted the devolution settlement and disrespected the Scottish government's authority in devolved areas.
The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act would enable UK ministers to establish minimum service levels for various essential services, including rail, health, fire, education, and border security. Employees identified to work through a notice during strikes would not receive automatic protection from unfair dismissal.
While the UK government emphasized the need for minimum service levels to ensure the safety and continuity of public services during strikes, trade unions and opposition figures have criticized the proposal as unworkable, undemocratic, and likely in breach of international law.