LIZ Truss’s promise to crack down on trade unions and make it harder for strikes to take place has been slammed as a “transparent egregious attack” on workers.

The Tory leadership contender has vowed to introduce minimum service levels on critical national infrastructure, such as the railways, raising the ballot threshold for workers to vote in favour of strike action from 40 to 50%, and instituting a “cooling off” period of six months to stop ongoing industrial action.

Truss would also increase the minimum notice period for strike action from two weeks to four weeks and put an end to members receiving tax free payments from trade unions on the days they are striking.

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The plans have been roundly rejected by trade union bosses in Scotland and across the UK, while the Scottish Greens said it was another “hypocritical” attack on workers from an out-of-touch Tory party.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said that if the proposals become law, the UK will see the “biggest resistance mounted by the entire trade union movement” since the Suffragettes.

In a press release launching the policy, Truss said: “We need tough and decisive action to limit trade unions’ ability to paralyse our economy. I will do everything in my power to make sure that militant action from trade unions can no longer cripple the vital services that hard-working people rely on.”

Truss’s team also claimed the plans would “prevent short-sighted trade union action from damaging the UK’s economy and protect its return to growth”.

The National: Truss's plans to crack down on trade union powers have prompted furyTruss's plans to crack down on trade union powers have prompted fury

A Truss campaign spokesperson added: “Liz is determined to stand up for people who work hard and do the right thing. For too long, trade unionists have been able to hold the country to ransom with threat of industrial action.

“The steps she has announced today will finally allow the government to take back control from trade union barons and deliver the economic growth we need to put money back in hardworking families’ pockets.”

After further rail strikes in August were announced by TSSA union on Monday, fellow Tory leadership contender Rishi Sunak said he supported the party's manifesto promise for minimum service levels, urging Labour to "stand up to the Union paymasters".

Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary Roz Foyer said it was revealing that Truss chose to attack working people in “a pathetic, desperate attempt to curry favour with her acolytes”.

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She added: “Workers across Scotland are suffering from endemic low pay, unaffordable energy costs and near-record inflation.

“Workers didn’t cause this crisis – the Tories did. Her proposals will only increase support for industrial action as it becomes clear that, unable to manage a crisis of its own making, the Tories resort to type and blame working people for their own economic failures.

“Workers will be swift and steadfast in their response should any Tory undermine our working rights and we’ll reject wholeheartedly this transparent egregious attack on our democratic right to withdraw our labour.”

Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, added: “The right to strike is an important British freedom. Threatening the right to strike means working people lose the power to bargain for better pay and conditions.

The National: STUC general secretary Roz Foyer said the plans were an "egregious attack" on workers rightsSTUC general secretary Roz Foyer said the plans were an "egregious attack" on workers rights (Image: Newsquest)

“Instead of taking pot-shots at working people and their unions, the candidates should come up with plans to get wages rising again. That’s how to deal with the cost-of-living emergency.”

RMT general secretary Lynch added: “The proposals by Liz Truss amount to the biggest attack on trade union and civil rights since labour unions were legalised in 1871.

“Truss is proposing to make effective trade unionism illegal in Britain and to rob working people of a key democratic right.

“If these proposals become law, there will be the biggest resistance mounted by the entire trade union movement, rivalling the General Strike of 1926, the Suffragettes and Chartism.”

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Ross Greer MSP said: “Elected trade union leaders like Mick Lynch have done a brilliant jobs in recent weeks explaining just how rigged the UK economy is in favour of the super-rich, tax-dodging corporations and Tory party donors.

"These proposals are just the latest in a long list of hypocritical Conservative attacks on workers.

"Less than a third of UK voters chose the Tories at the last election, so what right do they have to demand that trade union strike ballots reach support thresholds that they themselves cannot come close to?

The National: The RMT and other rail unions are set to hold further strikes this week and in AugustThe RMT and other rail unions are set to hold further strikes this week and in August

“For as long as Scotland remains in the UK, we’ll continue to be subject to ever more draconian curbs on workers’ rights. The alternative is an independent Scotland that values workers’ rights, one which values the essential role trade unions play in protecting them.”

Truss’s plans come just days after the UK Government repealed a key trade union law which means that businesses can now legally pay agency staff to cross the picket line when strikes are underway.