Trade Union Act 2016 In Force From 1 March 2017

Date Added 16.02.17

The Government has confirmed this week that some key provisions of the Trade Union Act 2016 will come into force on 1 March 2017.

The provisions include:

  • An additional requirement in certain important public services which include education, border security, transport, health and fire sectors that at least 40% of those entitled to vote in the ballot must vote in favour of industrial action.
  • A requirement to include additional information on the ballot paper including a reasonably detailed indication of the matters in issue in the dispute to which the industrial action relates. The new act also requires more detailed information to be provided to trade union members about the result of the ballot.
  • A requirement to double the current notice of the industrial action which means employers will have fourteen days’ notice. Legal protection for industrial action that is regarded to have support of a ballot will expire six months after the date of the ballot if no such action is taken during that period.
  • A new ballot threshold for industrial action. Currently the law requires for a simple majority for a ballot conducted by a trade union for industrial action to be successful. There are no requirements for any minimum level of turnout. The new act has an additional requirement that in all ballots for industrial action at least 50% of those trade union members who are eligible to vote in the ballot must do so for the ballot to be valid. Whether or not the ballot is successful will remain unaffected, a simple majority of the votes cast must be in favour of industrial action.

What does this mean for you?

The Trade Union Act 2016 introduces significant changes in this area that are likely to be welcomed by employers. The new legislation places more onerous requirements on trade unions and will make the prospect of industrial action less likely. It may however mean that there will be changes in the ways in which industrial disputes are conducted in the future with the unions finding other ways to express their views.

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