It will not have escaped your attention that UCU has begun holding strikes over a pay dispute. At the ballot stage, there was reportedly a 35.5% turnout of  UCU members. Under the proposed new laws, would that have been sufficient to hold a strike? In short, no.

The implementation date of the Trade Union Act 2016 is yet to be confirmed, but amongst the noteworthy provisions are the following:

  • The imposition of a 50% turnout requirement in all ballots (meaning the current UCU ballot would have fallen at the first hurdle).
  • Industrial action in “important public services” will require support of at least 40% of those eligible to vote.
  • More detailed information on the ballot paper.
  • A six-month time limit on the validity of each ballot (which can increase to nine months by agreement).
  • 14 days’ notice of strike action

The above represents welcome reform for many Higher Education institutions.