July 21, 2015

Trade Union Bill: The biggest changes in 30 years

The Government has now published its draft trade union bill – if passed, this bill could see some significant changes to Employment Law….

Here are some of the most important points about the draft bill you need to know…

Notice period of strike action & agency cover

The most important proposed change for employers to note is that if the bill is passed. Trade Unions will have to give employers 14 days’ notice of strike action and in addition, businesses will be allowed to bring in agency staff to cover workers on strike.

50% turnout

If passed, the draft trade union bill will also require half of those members balloted to vote.

In addition to the 50% voting requirement, if the employer is providing a key public service (such as transport or education), then at least 40% must vote in favour of the proposed industrial action.

Summary of the main proposals:

  • Industrial action will require a 50% turnout
  • 40% of all eligible voters must vote in favour of industrial action which affect important public services
  • The ban on using agency staff to cover striking workers will be lifted
  • There will be a 4 month limit on a strike mandate, after which another ballot is required (this won’t apply to ballots taking place before the Act comes into force, assuming it is passed)
  • More specific requirements for the wording of the ballot paper
  • Banning automatic opt-ins to political donations from trade union subscription fees
  • The amount of notice of a strike to be given to an employer will be increased from 7 to 14 days

The consultations on the draft ‘Trade Union Bill’ are open until 9th September 2015. We will update you on future developments as they become known.

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About the author

Andrew Weir

Andrew has a wealth of experience in advising and representing clients of all shapes and sizes in a range of Employment Law topics from unfair dismissal through to all forms of discrimination and the complexities of TUPE. Andrew heads up our Advice Line and Advocacy teams who provide Employment Law advice to our clients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and support our clients in presenting defences at Employment Tribunals throughout the UK & Ireland.