A day before 40,000 RMT workers are set to walk out and bring the rail network to a standstill, the Tory leadership contender vowed to change the rules to prevent unions from “crippling” vital services.
Ms Truss said that, if she becomes prime minister, she would raise ballot thresholds so unions have to get the support of at least 50 per cent of members before they can take industrial action. The current figure is 40 per cent.
The Foreign Secretary said that, within a month of taking over, she would bring in legislation to introduce minimum service levels in critical national infrastructure, meaning unions would not be able to bring the entire rail network to a halt, and raise the minimum threshold in favour of strikes.
Ms 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.”
The policy was announced as part of a campaign in which she has sought to present herself in the image of Margaret Thatcher, who tamed union power in the 1980s.
A campaign spokesman said: “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 the 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.”
The Foreign Secretary said a government led by her would introduce legislation in the first 30 days of parliamentary sittings to guarantee a minimum level of service on vital infrastructure. Tailored minimum thresholds, including staffing levels, would be determined with each industry.
It would also increase the minimum notice period for strike action from two weeks to four weeks, while there would be a new cooling-off period so unions could no longer strike as many times as they like in the six-month period after a ballot.
A spokesman said: “Combined, these measures will prevent short-sighted trade union action from damaging the UK’s economy and protect its return to growth.
“They will put hard-working families first and guarantee that a minority of workers can no longer cause disruption to our critical services.”