• The Trade Union Act 2016 came into force at the end of last week.

    The main changes are:

    • Lawful industrial action has to have a minimum turnout of 50% of those entitled to vote;
    • The majority of individuals must vote in favour of action;
    • In essential public services (including health, education, fire and transport), at least 40% of those who were entitled to vote in the ballot will be required to vote in favour of action;
    • The voting paper has to include a summary of the issues giving rise to the proposed action;
    • Unions will be required to give employers 14 rather than 7 days’ notice of industrial action (they can agree shorter periods);
    • A ballot for strike action covers action within 6 months of the ballot (this can be extended to 9 months if the employer agrees);
    • Unions will be required to appoint an identifiable supervisor when engaged in picketing;
    • After a transitional period of at least 12 months, all new trade union members will be required to pay into union political funds only if they have actively opted in; and
    • The Government will commission an independent review on electronic balloting for industrial action.

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