NEIL Gray has urged the UK Government to scrap its “disgraceful, abhorrent” plans for controversial strike reforms.

Wellbeing Economy minister Gray wrote to business minister Kevin Hollinrake on Monday, ahead of the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill returning to the House of Lords next week for further consideration.

The Bill would give ministers the power to impose minimum service levels during strikes in any sector deemed to be essential, including ambulance staff, firefighters and railway workers.

In his letter on Monday, the minister reiterated the Scottish Government’s opposition to the Bill, adding that he was “further appalled” that amendments which would restrict the Bill to cover only England were rejected last week.

Humza Yousaf, however, has said he would not impose such minimum restrictions in Scotland, and has claimed the Bill encroaches on devolved areas.

“The Scottish Government is implacable in its view that this Bill is unnecessary, unwanted and ineffective,” Gray wrote.

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“It seeks to undermine legitimate trade union activity and does not respect the Scottish Government’s Fair Work principles of effective voice, fulfilment, opportunity, respect and security.

“I would reiterate the position made clear by Scottish Minsters since the outset of this Bill that, as Governments, we should be working with the public sector and trade unions to reach fair and reasonable settlements respecting the legitimate interest of workers, not seeking to curb their right to strike.

“The UK Government’s introduction of this wholly unwelcome Bill is unnecessarily inflammatory and will therefore act against the interest of the public.

“The Scottish Government’s assessment from the outset has been that regulations made under this Bill will affect operational decisions in devolved areas and therefore in its practical application, encroaches on devolved matters.

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“As the First Minister made clear in his speech to the Scottish Trades Union Congress on April 17, the Scottish Government will never issue or enforce a single work notice.

“We will continue to do everything we can to oppose this disgraceful, abhorrent legislation – it has no place here in Scotland.

“There is still time to abandon the Bill prior to Royal Assent and I would urge you to do so in respect of workers’ rights to legitimate industrial action, and to the democratic mandate of the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Ministers for delivery in devolved matters.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “The right to join a union and organise is protected in law, but the British people also expect the Government to act in circumstances where their rights and freedoms are being disproportionately impacted by strikes.

“That is why we have introduced legislation to implement minimum service Levels, which are common across many countries, including in the EU.”