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Trade Union Bill receives Royal Assent

On 4 May 2016, the Trade Union Bill received Royal Assent and became the Trade Union Act 2016.

The Act will amend the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULRCA). The amendments will increase ballot thresholds, impose legal requirements on unions in relation to picketing and introduce new information and timing requirements in relation to industrial action.

The new Act provides that at least 50% of all eligible trade union members must vote (and at least 50% of those members who respond to the ballot must vote in favour of the action) in order for a strike or other industrial action to be lawful.

In ballots of workers in certain “important public services”, including in the health, education, transport, border security and fire sectors, at least 40% of those entitled to vote must have voted in favour of the action.

As to the question of electronic balloting, which has been the subject of some debate, the new Act requires the Secretary of State to commission an independent review of electronic balloting within six months of the Act being passed.

The commencement date of the Act is not yet known; it will be brought into force in due course.

The government has also published a consultation, seeking views on the removal of the provision in Regulation 7 of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 which prevents an employment business from supplying an employer with temporary workers to perform the duties normally performed by a striking worker. The consultation closed on 9 September 2015 and we are awaiting the government’s response. 


This bulletin is for general guidance purposes only and should not be used for any other purpose.

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