THE UK Government has “rubbished” its own plans for anti-strike legislation, Labour has said.

The party pointed to quotes from the Transport Secretary who, speaking not one month ago, said that the anti-trade union laws which the Tories have proposed were “not a solution to dealing with the industrial action we see at the moment”.

And they highlighted tracts from the UK Government's impact assessment of such legislation which said it could actually lead to an increase in the frequency of strikes.

Louise Haigh, Labour’s shadow transport secretary, said: “The government openly accepts this damaging, counter-productive legislation could increase disruption and strike days on the rail network. And the Transport Secretary himself admits it is no solution.

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“Rather than forcing through legislation that could exacerbate disruption and undermine workers’ rights, the government should show some responsibility, get around the table and start negotiating to find a deal.”

The Tories’ proposed anti-strike laws will look to set “minimum safety levels” during industrial action for services including health and transport, and could allow trade unions to be sued over the impact of their action.

Mark Harper, the Tory Transport Secretary, appeared to accept during a Transport Select Committee meeting on December 7 that such laws were “not a solution”.

“That legislation, however quickly it is progressed … is not a solution to dealing with the industrial action we see at the moment,” he said.

“The other thing I would say is that while that legislation may well improve the service that passengers receive on strike days, my priority is to try to ensure we resolve the industrial dispute, so that passengers don’t have strike days. That is how you get better service to passengers.

"You resolve the disputes, rather than have a slightly better service on strike days."

Furthermore, his Transport Department’s impact assessment of the proposals suggested they could have a litany of unintended negative effects. These would include a higher frequency of strike action, an increase “in staff taking action short of striking”, and compounded staffing issues if bosses fire workers who go on strike and are unable to replace them.

The proposals have already met with fierce opposition, with the SNP’s Mhairi Black condemning them “in the strongest possible terms”.

Scottish Trade Union Congress head Roz Foyer further warned the laws would be the “thin end of the wedge”.

“What this government is talking about is basically having an excuse to drive a bulldozer through workers’ rights,” the trade union boss told the BBC.