WORKERS’ rights in the UK have been degraded to the extent the country now ranks among despotic regimes such as Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, according to new global ratings.

The UK has dropped in International Trade Union Confederation’s (ITUC) annual report on workers’ rights, falling from a rating of three – countries where the ITUC considers there to be a “regular violation of rights” – to four, where the confederation says there is are “systemic” violations.

Joining the UK in the number four rating are countries including Qatar – which faced high-profile criticism for its treatment of migrant workers in the lead-up to last year’s World Cup – and Oman, which is an absolute monarchy where criticism of the government is illegal.

The report said: “In the United Kingdom, union busting, attempts to introduce legislation curtailing the right to strike and protest, and violations of collective bargaining agreements have become systematic and led to the country’s rating dropping from three to four.”

Westminster’s planned crackdown on the right of workers to go on strike is likely to have played a part in Britain’s drop in ranking as the Government edges closer to further restrict trade unions’ ability to take industrial action.

The minimum service levels bill currently working its way through the UK Parliament will see the Government enabled to enforce certain amounts of employees to attend work even if their trade union has a mandate to strike, in a bid to curb the level of disruption industrial action can cause.

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The UK has seen rising levels of industrial action in recent years as workers fight for better pay in response to rocketing prices, with the most days lost to industrial action since 2011.

David Linden, the SNP’s social justice spokesperson, said the report made the case for independence stronger.

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He said: “The Tories’ brazen attacks on basic workers' rights and protections have made it clear that only with independence can we safeguard the rights of Scottish workers.

“Consistent Tory clampdowns on the right to strike, and their attempts to rip up hard-won EU protections have resulted in the UK being placed among some of the worst offending nations in the world on workers' rights.

“That paints a depressing picture of the reality people in Scotland should have been safe from had we remained in the EU, or had Better Together bedfellows Labour and the Tories not blocked the devolution of employment law.

“Unfortunately, as with too many other areas, we are at the mercy of a Westminster government with little regard for the ordinary people who keep this country going.

“The SNP will continue to stand up for workers' rights, and a strong SNP presence in Westminster will do what it can to drag the next UK Government to the left, but it’s not enough.

“With the Tories and the pro-Brexit Labour Party working hand in hand to keep us out of the European Union and keep employment law reserved, it's clear our workers' rights are not safe under Westminster control, and the only way we can guarantee them is with independence.”