'It's Russian doll of injustice!': James O’Brien reacts to proposed anti-strike legislation

10 January 2023, 13:35 | Updated: 10 January 2023, 13:45

James O'Brien: '...It's like a Russian doll of injustice!'

By Phoebe Dampare Osei

Workers are being held “almost at metaphorical gunpoint”, said James O’Brien, pointing out how strikers are caught between the legal right to vote and take part in industrial action, as the government proposes an anti-strike bill.

James O’Brien asked his listeners how having the legal right to strike can coexist with the threat of workers losing their jobs - in doing so, describing it as a “Russian doll of injustice”.

This came after the government proposed anti-strike legislation in an effort to clamp down on disruption caused by industrial action.

One of James' callers talked about the life-and-death consequences of what would happen if he made a mistake on the job, acknowledging the need to 'ensure a basic level of service' - which the government calls for in their new legislation.

READ MORE: Government introduces anti-strike legislation to 'ensure basic level of service' during walkouts

Matt in Skipton said: “I work for Network Rail as a signaller. I'm an RMT member."

“It’s not lost on me that if I make a mistake at the wrong moment, on a wrong day, in the wrong situation, I could end up killing someone”, Matt said, highlighting the level of responsibility in his role.

James reacted understandingly: "I'm not suggesting for a minute that anyone in your line of work job would be less than a hundred per cent dedicated to the job that you're doing but It's an injustice that has been inflicted upon you."

The rail worker agreed, telling James that of the benefits he enjoys in his job "75 per cent or more is down to action that unions have taken".

"Because of previous victories and hard-won rights," James chimed in.

READ MORE: NHS must do whatever it takes to tackle crisis, says Shapps - including cabins in car parks

In reflection, James said: “How does that work? These are human beings who are being told that rights they have are being taken away - and one of the rights that's being taken away is the right to take meaningful action against rights being taken away!”

“It's like a Russian doll of injustice!” he concluded.

James O'Brien asks listeners if they think it is wrong for PM to ban the right to strike

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