IT'S not hyperbolic to suggest that workers throughout Scotland face an ideological attack on their democratic rights from the latest incarnation of the UK Tory government.

The Trade Union Act of 2016 introduced a swathe of barriers to the ability of unions to organise, making the UK one of the most restrictive countries on the planet to take industrial action.

Now the government proposes to effectively remove the right to strike from millions of our members.

The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill would impose as-yet undefined levels of service cover for public service bodies engaging in industrial action.

Employers or a minister would be able to identify workers as being required for "minimum service", ban them from striking and sack them if they refuse.

Action could be taken against unions too, if they don't "do a good enough job" in "persuading" their members not to strike.

The power to impose and define a "minimum service" would lie with the Business Secretary, currently Grant Shapps.

Despite Tory bluster and faux justification, this is not the norm.

Some countries across the continent do operate a Minimum Service Level, but these exist in industrial landscapes that are generally much less restrictive.

This Bill permits the sacking of public sector workers - nurses, firefighters, teachers - for upholding their human right to withdraw their labour.

More incredible still, what the UK Government wants to impose already exists through mature voluntary negotiation.

Unions provide life and limb cover for emergency services and agree this directly with employers.

We now face the spectre of a scenario where a Tory minister, whom no one in Scotland elected - representing a UK Government widely rejected north of the Border - making decisions about services in health, education, transport and fire and rescue services that are entirely, or in large part devolved.

The Tories are gambling they can recover their ailing electoral fortunes by ostracising those who have the audacity to fight for fair pay and improve public services.

The STUC, in alliance with the trade union movement across Britain will mobilise to defeat this Bill, in Parliament, in the Lords, or if necessary, the courts.

The impact on devolution is stark. For organisations in which the Scottish Government is the employer, they will, potentially, have to obey the demands of the UK Government within an area of devolved competence.

It is unconscionable that Westminster, not Holyrood, should get to decide which ScotRail worker or which NHS nurse can bargain for better pay.

The UK Government has just turbocharged our resolve.

Roz Foyer is general secretary of the STUC