The First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, has said that he will fight an attempt by the UK government to repeal a law passed by the Senedd in 2017 that banned agency staff replacing striking public sector workers in Wales.
The Trade Union Wales Act 2017 was passed by the Senedd shortly before the Wales Act 2017 came into force, confirming that industrial relations law was not an area that was devolved to the Welsh Government. Although industrial relations law within Wales was not devolved to the Senedd by the Government of Wales Act 2006 or the Wales Act 2014, the Welsh Government was not specifically prohibited from passing legislation on industrial relations matters until the 2017 Act came into force.
The UK government announced on Monday (27th June) that the law would be repealed to bring Welsh law on the use of agency workers in industrial action into line with the rest of the UK, overturning the ban on public sector employers in Wales using agency workers to cover for striking employees.
The Trade Union Wales Act 2017 also removed the 40% support threshold for strike ballots, restrictions affecting time off for union activities and the allowed for union subscriptions to be deducted directly from pay packets.
A Welsh government spokesperson said: "Imposing tighter restrictions on trade unions and further reducing the rights of people at work is counter-productive and against everything we stand for in Wales. The UK government's plans will do nothing to improve the lives of working people. We will resist any attempts by the UK government to undermine both how devolved public services operate and legislation which has been passed by the Senedd."
The repeal of the Welsh Trade Union law will require primary legislation at Westminster, which the government said it would introduce “when Parliamentary time allows…to ensure trade union legislation applies equally across Great Britain".