Complete Clarity Solicitors


Government Unveils Reforms to Strike Laws

The UK Government has recently published details of proposed reforms to strike laws, which it says will fairly balance the right to strike with the right of people to be able to go about their daily lives and work.

The Trade Union Bill will introduce:

  • a 50% threshold for ballot turn-out, and
  • an additional threshold of 40% of support to take industrial action from all members eligible to vote in the key health, education, fire, transport, border security and nuclear decommissioning sectors – including the Border Force.

The Government says that these changes will ensure strikes are the result of a clear and positive democratic mandate from union members: upholding the right to strike while reducing disruption to millions of people.

The Trade Union Bill will also:

  • set a four month time limit for industrial action so that mandates are always recent,
  • require a clear description of the trade dispute and the planned industrial action on the ballot paper, so that all union members are clear what they are voting for,
  • enable greater scrutiny and controls over taxpayer-funded subsidies to trade unions (so-called ‘facility time’), such as full-time trade union representatives,
  • create a transparent process for trade union subscriptions that allows members to make an active choice of paying into political funds, as is already the case in Northern Ireland, to protect union members from misleading marketing practices, and
  • put in place safeguards to ensure non-striking members of a workforce are able to go about their business without fear of intimidation.

Consultations on the proposed introduction of a 40% threshold for important public sectors; reforming and modernising the rules and code of practice on picketing and protests linked to industrial disputes, and for the repeal of a ban on the use of agency workers are now open and will run until 9th September 2015.

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