Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill receives Royal Assent

United Kingdom

The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill received Royal Assent on 20 July. The Bill was introduced to Parliament in January and its passage was swift despite strong opposition from trade unions, who have criticised its limitations on workers’ rights, and multiple suggested amendments from the House of Lords. The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023 makes provision for the government to set minimum service levels in a number of key sectors including health, transport, fire and rescue and education during strike action.

Changes to the current landscape

The Act aims to reduce the impact of strike action on the public. It amends the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULRCA) to restrict the protection provided to trade unions and employees in respect of strikes where minimum service levels apply. We outlined those amendments in our previous Law-Now: Government proposes legislation to mandate minimum service levels during strike action (

During its passage through Parliament, the House of Lords sought to amend the Bill in various ways, including by inserting a requirement for the government to consult with the House of Commons and the House of Lords on minimum service levels. Most of those amendments were rejected and the Bill passed largely unamended.

The government confirmed in its press release that it will now proceed with plans to implement minimum service levels for passenger rail services, ambulance services and fire and rescue services. The government has already consulted on minimum service levels in these areas and will respond to those consultations “in due course”. In any event, secondary legislation will be required to bring the minimum service levels into force in those areas. 

The government also confirmed that it would launch a public consultation this summer on the reasonable steps trade unions must take to ensure their members comply with a work notice given by an employer under the Act. This follows the government’s commitment to introduce a statutory code of practice on the reasonable steps that must be taken using existing powers under TULRCA.


When the Bill had its third reading in the House of Lords, the Trades Union Congress vowed to fight the legislation “tooth and nail” on the basis that it undermines the fundamental right to strike. After the recent success of Unison and twelve other trade unions in quashing the regulations that permitted employers to replace striking workers with agency workers, the unions may well be galvanised into taking legal action to seek to overturn the Act too. For further information on the High Court decision to overturn the regulations permitting the use of agency workers to cover striking workers, see our Law-Now: Striking Times: As You Were.

Please do get in touch with your usual CMS contact if you would like to discuss the potential implications of the Act for your business.