UK government could bring in military to ease strikes: Conservative chairman
LONDON: Britain’s government is looking at bringing in the military to help keep public services running if key workers, including in the state-run National Health Service, take strike action, the chairman of the governing Conservative Party said on Sunday (Dec 4).
Britain is already grappling with industrial action in a range of sectors, but now faces strikes by thousands of nurses in England and ambulance workers in England and Wales who plan to walk out later this month over pay and conditions.
The government has repeatedly called on workers to halt strike action, saying it could not afford pay rises to cover inflation and that, even if it could meet their demands, such increases would further fuel inflation.
“Our message to the unions is to say ‘this is not a time to strike, this is a time to try and negotiate’. But in the absence of that, it is important for the government … to have contingency plans in place,” Nadhim Zahawi told Sky News.
“We’re looking at the military, we’re looking at a specialist response force … a surge capacity,” he said, adding that the military could be brought in to drive ambulances.
Alex Baldock, chief executive of British electricals retailer Currys, said his company would not use Royal Mail “for now” to reduce any strike impact.
Workers at post and parcel company Royal Mail have held several rounds of strikes this year in a dispute over pay and working conditions and more strikes are planned this month.
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