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Trade Union Act Measures Now in Force

Measures of the Trade Union Act came into force on 1st March that the Government says will protect millions of people from the effects of undemocratic strike action.

The Act introduces tougher ballot thresholds that mean a strike will only be possible if it results from a clear democratic decision from union members.

From 1st March, fresh ballots will have to achieve at least a 50% turnout of eligible union members, with a majority voting in favour of strike action. In important public services - including in the health, education and transport sectors - an additional threshold of 40% of support from all eligible members must be met for action to be legal.

From 1st March, the Act will also require unions to:

  • give employers a minimum of 14 days’ notice before industrial action rather than the previous seven days,
  • set a six-month time limit - which can be increased to nine months if the union and employer agree - for industrial action so that mandates are always recent,
  • provide a clearer description of the trade dispute and the planned industrial action on the ballot paper, so that all union members know what they are voting for,
  • provide more detailed information to union members about ballot results, including how many union members were entitled to vote and whether the relevant thresholds have been met,
  • report more detailed information on industrial action, ballot results and expenditure of political funds to the Certification Officer, the unions’ regulator, which will then be made public,
  • ensure supervision of picket lines to ensure they are peaceful, and
  • implement an opt-in system for new members on contributing to political funds within 12 months.

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For expert legal advice on these issues, or other areas of employment law, then contact our specialist employment lawyers today.

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