The Trade Union Bill – Restricting Action
The Government introduced the Trade Union Bill to the Commons on 15 July 2015. This Bill proposes the biggest shake up to the laws governing industrial action in 30 years and it could come into force as early as next year. This will of course only affect employers with unionised employees, but there are specific terms which will apply to those public sectors such as transport and health that provide services to all of us.
So what changes are proposed in the Trade Union Bill?
* At least 50% of union members must vote in a ballot for industrial action to be authorised. Currently the law allows strike action if it is backed by a simple majority of union members voting, regardless of turnout.
* In addition to the 50% turnout threshold, in ballots affecting key public services – health, education, fire, transport, border security and energy – strike action must be supported by 40% of those eligible to vote.
* There will be an end to the rolling mandate for strike action by introducing a four month time limit following a ballot. This would prevent unions undertaking action based on historic strike ballots. They can do currently provided the action is part of one continuing dispute.
* Unions will be required to give employers 14 days’ notice of strike action (an increase from the current seven days’ notice).
* A removal of the restriction on employers using temporary workers to cover for striking staff.
* The introduction of a new criminal charge to stop those who are on strike from intimidating employers and colleagues who choose not to take part in industrial action.
Whether or not you agree with the changes, it will not come as no surprise that the unions are strongly opposed to the proposals as it will make it more difficult for them to get a mandate from members to take industrial action.
Posted on 19 Nov 2016