Trade Union Bill receives Royal Assent and becomes the Trade Union Act

The Trade Union Bill received Royal Assent today and becomes the Trade Union Act.

Key provisions are:-

  • requirement for at least 50% turnout in votes for industrial action
  • in certain public services, including in the health, education, transport, border security and fire sectors, an additional threshold of 40% of support to take industrial action from all eligible members must be met for action to be legal
  • requiring a clearer description of the trade dispute and the planned industrial action on the ballot paper, so that all union members are clear what they are voting for
  • setting a 6 month time limit (which can be increased to 9 months if the union and employer agree) for industrial action so that mandates are always recent
  • creating a transparent process for trade union subscriptions that allows new members to make an active choice of paying into political funds
  • ensuring that payroll deductions for trade union subscriptions are only administered where the cost is not funded by the public

The commencement date is not known; it will be brought into force by a statutory instrument in due course.

During the Parliamentary process, the government agreed to commission an independent review into electronic balloting within 6 months.

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