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Trade Union Bill receives Royal Assent

The Trade Union Bill has received Royal Assent and became the Trade Union Act on 4 May 2016. The BIS have issued a press release confirming the details, but the text of the Act has yet to be published; nor is there any indication of the implementation date/s. The BIS press release, however, sets out key provisions as follows:

  • The Trade Union Act will ensure industrial action only ever goes ahead when there has been a ballot turnout of at least 50%.
  • In important public services, including in the health, education, transport, border security and fire sectors, an additional threshold of 40% of support to take industrial action from all eligible members must be met for action to be legal.
  • During the Parliamentary process, the government agreed to commission an independent review into electronic balloting within 6 months.
  • Setting a 6-month time limit (which can be increased to 9 months if the union and employer agree) for industrial action so that mandates are always recent.
  • Requiring a clearer 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.
  • Creating a transparent process for trade union subscriptions that allows new members to make an active choice of paying into political funds.
  • Giving more powers to the Certification Officer to ensure new and existing rules are always followed by unions.
  • Reducing the burden on taxpayers by ensuring that payroll deductions for trade union subscriptions are only administered where the cost is not funded by the public and ensuring transparency and greater accountability relating to the use of public money for facility time.

Content Note

The aim is to provide summary information and comment on the subject areas covered. In particular, where employment tribunal and appellate court cases are reported, the information does not set out full details of all the facts, the legal arguments presented by the parties and the judgments made in every aspect of the case. Click on the links provided to access full details. If no link is provided contact us for further information. Employment law is subject to constant change either by statute or by interpretation by the courts. While every care has been taken in compiling this information, SM&B cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Specialist legal advice must be taken on any legal issues that may arise before embarking upon any formal course of action.

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