As promised in the Conservative Party manifesto, the Government is introducing new legislation to strengthen strike laws. The Trade Union Bill is being laid before Parliament today and will introduce a 50% threshold for ballot turn-out and an additional threshold of 40% of support from all members eligible to vote in key sectors including health, education, fire, transport, border security and energy.

The Bill will limit the period during which a ballot is valid to authorise industrial action to four months, require a clear description of the trade dispute and the planned industrial action on the ballot paper and oblige unions to give at least two weeks' notice of strike action to employers. The Bill will also limit picketing and repeal the ban on employers using agency workers to replace striking workers. Trade union members will have to opt in to contributing to a union's political fund, instead of opting out as they do at present.

The Bill has not been published yet but a consultation on the reforms starts today and runs until September.