On 4 May 2016 the controversial Trade Union Bill received Royal Assent and became the Trade Union Act, 2016. It is not yet known when it will come into effect. But what does this mean for Union’s and their members?

The main provisions of the act are:

  • That at least a 50% turnout of those who are entitled to vote is required before industrial action can be taken, and the majority of those voting must of course be in favour of industrial action
  • In relation to important public services (such as health, education, fire service, transport and border security) there is an additional requirement that 40% must support the industrial action
  • Two weeks’ notice of industrial action will now be required, rather than the one week under the previous legislation (unless both parties agree to one weeks’ notice)
  • Establishing a six month time limit (which can be extended to 9 months by agreement) for industrial action
  • A summary of the trade dispute must be provided on the ballot paper so that members are clear on what they are voting for. Prescribed information must also be provided to those who are entitled to vote after the ballot has taken place.
  • Payroll deductions for subscriptions (‘check off’) must only to be administered where this is not at cost to the public
  • Members must be given an active choice as to whether they wish to pay into political funds

Pilot schemes will also take place to trial the design and implementation of secure methods of electronic balloting before it is decided if this will be rolled out across strike ballots.

Whilst the Act has changed significantly from the initial proposals, and some of the most controversial proposals have not made the final version, it is clear that the Act is intended to increase the hurdles required for Union’s and their members to take industrial action.

Here at Beecham Peacock we have a trusted relationship with some of the largest trade unions in the country to protect your working rights. For further information call us on 0191 232 3048 or email enquire@beechampeacock.co.uk.

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