The latest millionaire minister's attack on low-paid workers' benefits is nothing short of bullying, union organisers said today.
Trade unions representing some of Britain's poorest-paid workers poured scorn on plans to give bosses the power to freeze striking staff's tax credits and housing benefits.
Under current rules a drop in income qualifies workers on less than £13,000 a year for an increase in benefits to make up the difference.
But Tory Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith - whose own personal wealth is estimated at around £1 million - told reporters on Sunday that the policy was morally wrong.
"Striking is a choice, and in future benefit claimants will have to pay the price for that choice - as under universal credit, we no longer will," he said.
Instead employers could warn authorities that their staff were on strike and freeze their benefits.
But Unite's Southampton branch secretary Ian Woodland told the Morning Star the attitude was "abhorrent."
Mr Woodland said Southampton Council workers had risked losing their jobs altogether last year amid rolling strikes to protect themselves from planned pay cuts.
The negotiations may well have never happened if members had feared losing their homes or being unable to feed their families, he added.
"They're paying into the system; they should be able to expect that support," he said.
The Public and Commercial Services union - which last year led Buckingham Palace's cleaners on strike over pay of just £6.45 an hour - called the move "ridiculous, cruel and misguided."
"At least it's a marginal step forward in that it's a recognition that significant numbers of people entitled to benefits are in work," a spokesman said.
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