Ms Thatcher took on the unions during her tenure as PM, including the miner's strike in 1985. Now, Ms Truss has said she’ll introduce legislation to target the tactics used by unions within 30 days of entering No 10 if she beats rival Rishi Sunak.
Ms Truss said: “We need tough and decisive action to limit trade unions’ ability to paralyse our economy. I will do everything in my power to make sure that militant action from trade unions can no longer cripple the vital services that hard-working people rely on.”
Plans include raising the minimum threshold for votes in favour of strike action from 40 to 50 per cent, and raising the minimum notice period for such action from two to four weeks.
The commitments came ahead of members of the RMT union – which represents rail workers – striking on Wednesday as the dispute over pay continues.
Commenting on Ms Truss’ proposals on BBC Breakfast on Tuesday afternoon, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch – who has found fame online for his no-nonsense approach to media interviews – branded her a “right-wing fundamentalist”.
\u201c"This is a direct attack on one of the main pillars of our democracy"\n\nRMT union boss Mick Lynch says Tory leadership hopeful Liz Truss is seeking to "make effective industrial action illegal" adding "it's oppression of working people"\nhttps://t.co/eEh9ZIEf3x\u201d
He said: “We’re going to have one of the most extreme leaders, if she succeeds, that we’ve ever had in the prime minister’s office. This is a direct attack on one of the main pillars of our democracy.
“One of the founding bases of every democracy is the right for a trade union to freely organise and take appropriate action. She is seeking to make effective industrial action illegal.
He continued to argue that it was in fact “the British worker” who is being “held to ransom” at present.
Mr Lynch added: “What [Truss] wants is the trade unionists to surrender, so we have a low-paid, cowered workforce in this country, which makes profit rampant and supports the people that support her.
“[It’s] the 160,000 Tories that are going to vote for her in some kind of Surrey golf club scenario, will be very pleased with this rhetoric, but the rest of the country – if you believe in democracy and believe in a liberal economy – cannot support what she’s standing for, because it’s oppression of working people.”
To the point as ever, from Mr Lynch – and Twitter has once again heaped praise on his answers:
\u201c@BBCPolitics Mick is wrong - before unions were allowed to take effective action things were wonderful for working people; employers bent over backwards to ensure extended hours, no sick pay, no health & safety, low wages, insecure jobs offering people the chance to live 8 to a room in slums.\u201d