On 1 March 2017 the groundbreaking Trade Union Act 2016 came into force.
But what are its main provisions? What changes will it entail?
Highlights of the new legislation include:
- 50% ballot participation threshold
- 40% “important public services” ballot support threshold (meaning 40% of eligible voters must be in favour of the strike)
- Ballot papers must describe intended industrial action
- 2 weeks notice must be given of industrial action
- 6 months limit on ballot mandate before action can be taken
- Union supervision of picketing
- Positive consent for political fund contributions
- Changes to rules around public sector union facility time
- New restrictions on public sector union subscription deductions
- Requirement to provide more detailed information about ballot results.
What about important public services?
- most public medical services
- most public transport and closely ancillary services (but not international rail services)
- teaching services at state schools and academies (for students aged 16-19 only)
- firefighting services
- border control services
Separate regulations define what important public services are. In these cases a 40% ballot threshold will need to be reached, in addition to the 50% turnout threshold.