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Employment Law

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Veale Wasborough Vizards , 21 MAR 2016

Government attempts to soften the impact of the Trade Union Bill

Government attempts to soften the impact of the Trade Union Bill
Gemma Cawthray
Associate, Veale Wasbrough Vizards

The government has proposed a number of amendments to the Trade Union Bill to lessen the impact of its proposals.

We previously reported on the introduction of the Trade Union Bill and its key features.

The Trade Union Bill 2015/16 is now making its way through the House of Lords, and the government has put forward a number of amendments which are thought to represent an attempt to soften the force of the Bill.

Set out below is a summary of the latest proposals:

  • Rather that ballot papers needing to provide a 'reasonably detailed indication' of the dispute, a summary will now be sufficient;
  • The notice period for industrial action has been increased from 7 to 14 days. However, a 7-day notice period will still suffice where the employer agrees;
  • The initial proposal was for a ballot in favour of industrial action to only be valid for 4 months. This has now been increased to 6 months. In addition, a ballot can remain valid for up to 9 months where the employer agrees;
  • Picket supervisors will only need to wear 'something' to identify themselves, rather than 'a badge, armband or other item', as previously suggested;
  • Workers will now be excluded from the additional 40% important public services threshold if the union 'unreasonably believes' that they are not 'normally engaged in the provision of important public services' at the time of the ballot.
Debates on the Bill resumed at Report Stage on 16 March 2016, and we will continue to report on any further amendments and commentary in relation to this matter.

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