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Truss and Sunak branded ‘Thatcher tribute acts’ after threatening the right to strike

BOTH Tory leadership contenders were slammed as a “Thatcher tribute act” today after they threatened the right to strike during a TV debate in an increasingly bitter contest.

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak both said that they would clamp down on rights for workers to take strike action if they became prime minister.

When asked by moderator Sophie Raworth at the BBC debate whether they would “ban strikes in essential public services like the railways,” Mr Sunak replied: “Yes, it’s a manifesto promise and we need to deliver on it.”

Ms Truss replied: “I’ll do it.”

She followed this up this morning by saying she wanted to raise the minimum threshold of support for strike action from 40 per cent of eligible workers to 50 per cent.

Ms Truss also promised to double the notice period for industrial action to four weeks as well as stop members receiving tax-free payments from their unions on strike days.

“We need tough and decisive action to limit trade unions’ ability to paralyse our economy,” the Foreign Secretary said.

Her comments were slammed by Unite general secretary Sharon Graham who said that Ms Truss has “declared war on the trade union movement and working people.

“Let’s be clear, her madcap proposals are an attempt to all but ban strike action and outlaw effective trade unions.”

Ms Graham said that her union would “not bow to threats and any attempt to place us outside of the law will be met with fierce, prolonged resistance.”

The RMT union tweeted: “A worker’s ability to withdraw their labour is a fundamental right. The RMT will fight any attempt by these extremists to remove the right to take legal industrial action.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “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.”

Labour MP Richard Burgon said: “Whichever Tory wins, we must organise to defeat their draconian attempt to remove working people’s democratic right to defend their jobs and living standards.”

Hemsworth Labour MP Jon Trickett said: “This extreme Thatcher tribute act won’t wash with the millions of people suffering real-terms wage cuts. If they come for rail workers’ rights today, it will be other workers’ rights tomorrow.”

Postal ballots are set to arrive on Tory members’ doorsteps by August 5, with the next leader expected to be announced on September 5.

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