The Trade Union Bill received Royal Assent yesterday. The commencement date is currently unknown but the new legislation will be brought into force by a statutory instrument in due course.
The key provisions of the Act are as follows:
- At least 50% of all eligible members must have voted in the strike ballot.
- In “important public services” at least 40% of those entitled to vote must have voted in favour of the action.
- New information requirements have been introduced, including the requirement for a clear description of the trade dispute and the planned industrial action on the ballot paper.
- The notice required for strike action has been increased from 7 days to 14 days.
- A six month time limit has been introduced for strike action to take place after a ballot (or 9 months if agreed between the union and the employer).
- Public sector employers will be required to publish information on the facility time taken by union representatives. The government has reserved powers to make regulations limiting facility time to a fixed percentage of an employee’s working time.