THE UK Government is set to introduce new legislation to parliament on Tuesday for “minimum safety levels” during industrial action.

The bill aims to ensure that vital public services maintain a “basic function” when workers go on strike, the Business Department has previously said.

The introduction of the bill comes a day after crisis talks between ministers and unions failed to resolve industrial disputes involving nurses, teachers and rail workers.

It has been met with fierce criticism, with the SNP branding the plans “immoral” while STUC general secretary Roz Foyer accused the UK Government of “turning workers into slaves”.

READ MORE: Strikes: 'Immoral' new legislation condemned by SNP and union bosses

The proposals have sparked threats of legal challenges, with Labour also saying it would likely repeal the legislation.

Business Secretary Grant Shapps told GB News: “We don’t really ever want to have to use that legislation.”

He also said the UK Government wants to end “forever strikes” as he argued new anti-strike legislation would bring the UK “into line” with other European countries.

Shapps told Times Radio: “Everyone knows we want to bring these strikes, which in some cases, railways for example, seem to have turned into sort of forever strikes.

“We want to bring this to a close and the Government is bending over backwards to do that.”

He added: “Other countries like Germany and France and elsewhere do have minimum safety levels in place and we want to make sure that we’re doing the same thing to protect the British people.

“All we’d be doing here is bringing ourselves into line with what is already practised in many other countries.”

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Steve Barclay is considering backdating next year’s NHS staff pay increase as part of efforts to prevent further strikes, several reports have suggested.

Barclay used a meeting with health unions on Monday to suggest that improvements in efficiency and productivity within the health service could “unlock additional funding” to lead to an increased offer for the 2023/24 pay settlement in the spring.

Sara Gorton, head of health at Unison, said there had been an “acknowledgement” from the Health Secretary during the talks that avoiding strikes over next year’s pay settlement would “involve a reach-back” into the current pay year.

It raises the prospect that the pay deal for 2023/24, which is due to be agreed in time for April, could be backdated and applied to the final quarter of the 2022/23 financial year.

Gorton said the discussion represented a “tone change” from the UK Government, with pay discussions firmly on the table after months of ministers refusing to budge beyond what had been recommended by the independent pay review bodies.

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Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s PM programme, the Unison official said: “There was an acknowledgement from the Secretary of State [Barclay] that, to use his words, any resolution to the dispute now, or preventing further disputes for next year’s pay, would involve a reach-back into the current pay year.”

Unions said there was no “tangible offer” made, however, with Gorton calling for “cold hard cash” to be offered so members can be consulted over ceasing industrial action.

Multiple reports have suggested that unions put forward the call for the 2023/24 pay deal to be backdated to January in order to create a bigger uplift for 2022/23.