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Government propose changes to Trade Union Legislation

July 2015

To no-one’s surprise the Government has gone to consultation on its proposed Trade Union Bill. 

Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, has declared that in his view the proposed legislation is compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Predictably the proposed legislation has been welcomed broadly by the CBI and has been bitterly criticised by the Trade Unions who say that the Government’s real aim is to remove the right of workers to go on strike and is an attack on the Trade Union movement.

Along with the Bill there are three separate consultation documents on:-

  • Tackling intimidation of non-striking workers.
  • Ballot thresholds in important public services.
  • Hiring Agency Staff during industrial action.

Consultations are open only until the 9th September 2015 and the main proposals are:-

  • To increase the amount of notice that has to be given to an employer before a strike from 7 to 14 days.
  • To enable an Employer to hire agency staff to cover the work of striking workers during an industrial dispute.
  • A strike mandate will be subject to a time limit of 4 months after which another ballot will be required.
  • There will be stricter requirements for the wording on strike ballot papers.
  • Automatic opt-ins to political donations from Trade Union subscriptions fees will be banned (this could have an extremely detrimental effect on Labour Party funding).
  • Most controversially, for any industrial action to be lawful a 50% turn-out on the ballot will be required.  For important public services, 40% of all eligible voters must vote in favour of industrial action.

Watch this Space !

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