"WHEN working people come together we are more powerful than you can dare to imagine."

That was Roz Foyer's warning to the UK Government as she spoke to a roaring crowd of workers in Glasgow.

Hundreds turned up to Buchanan Street on Wednesday as part of UK-wide "protest the right to strike" rallies in response to Tory anti-strike legislation.

Some 50,000 Scottish workers join half a million of their UK colleagues taking industrial action in what has been dubbed "walkout Wednesday".

It's a fight that has brought together dozens of industries across the length and breadth of the UK.

READ MORE: Who is striking on February 1's mass day of action in Scotland?

Foyer, general secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), said workers will not stand by and let the Conservative government "attack" employees' right to strike.

She said: “For this Tory government, they can try and attack us, they can try and strip us of our rights, but when working people come together we are more powerful than they can dare to imagine.”

The STUC boss told The National that Westminster is trying to take away workers' right to strike at the time when they need it most.

The National: Roz Foyer said workers will not be 'turned into slaves'Roz Foyer said workers will not be 'turned into slaves' (Image: PA)

She said: “The UK Government is trying to strip us of our rights.

"Workers are facing a cost of living crisis and frankly we’ve been failed by governments both north and south of the Border so we’re having to stand up and fight back.

“My message to the UK Government is let's have less talk and more action.”

The trade union chief took aim at devolved administrations too.

Speaking about the Scottish Government, Foyer added: “Yes you might be better than the UK Government but it’s a very low bar. We want to see action and we want to see fair pay for every single worker across the public sector.”

The National: 50,000 Scots are striking on Wednesday50,000 Scots are striking on Wednesday (Image: PA)

The strikes coincide with mass protests against the Tories' anti-strike bill, which passed its third stage in the House of Commons earlier this week.

The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill places a duty on public sector bodies to provide an unspecified level of service cover and allows bosses to legally fire employees who ignore a “work notice” ordering them to work during industrial action.

Unions say it will undermine the ability of workers to withdraw their labour during industrial disputes.

The UK Government has said the bill aims to ensure "minimum standards" are met.

Foyer hit back at that, saying the Tories "do not care about minimum standards".

The National: 100,000 civil service workers are taking industrial action 100,000 civil service workers are taking industrial action (Image: PA)

"The UK Government fail to meet minimum standards every single day," she said. "If you take away workers’ right to strike you’re taking away their only bargaining option and that’s a fundamental pillar of our democracy.

“Workers will not be turned into slaves. If you don’t have the right to strike you’re being turned into a slave and we won’t have that in this country and we will fight tooth and nail to defend our rights.”

Civil servants, rail workers, NHS staff, teachers and lecturers are among the dozens of sectors taking action on Wednesday.

Viola, a lecturer at Stirling University, joined 70,000 of her colleagues calling for better pay, pensions and conditions - and to stop what she described as increasing “casualisation” taking place across the industry.

She told The National: “I’m here for all the people who have got half a year or 1-year contracts, who are constantly looking for the next job to apply, don’t have any job security and experience terrible conditions in further and higher education."

The National: 70,000 further and higher education staff are striking70,000 further and higher education staff are striking (Image: PA)

The academic said she hoped college and university staff won't have to go through with the full 10 days of actions - and urged higher education institutions to get around the table and find a solution.

Ben, a fellow member of the University and College Union, said the career structure for new starts has to be overhauled. He said these issues are a long time in the making.

“The situation is just terrible,” he said. “Those people at the bottom end are on short-term or zero-hours contacts and it’s a mess.

“Salaries in this industry have not kept up with inflation for more than a decade.

"Workload is terrible and the support from our employers is not there so we have to do something about it.”

The university worker said many people in the industry are effectively being paid below minimum wage because of long working hours.

He said unions have long been under attack from successive Tory governments.

He said: “Anti-union legislation has been coming in since at least the Theresa May's government, limiting the ability of unions to democratically represent their members. It’s disgusting.”

READ MORE: Stephen Flynn to speak at major rally against Tory anti-strike bill

One Unison worker told The National it was “inspiring” to see so many workers across the UK challenge the Government.

“It’s a real show of strength, not just in Scotland, but across Britain today,” he said.

“It’s important to remember working people have been asked to take massive pay cuts. This has built over a decade of stagnant wages.

“But this [the mass strikes] shows how determined working people are to fight back.”