To continue reading please register or login to your OHW+ account.
The Trade Union Bill received royal assent yesterday to become the Trade Union Act 2016.
The Government announced that the legislation had completed its parliamentary process by saying that "people will be protected from undemocratic industrial action". The union Unite described it as a "dark day" for workers in England.
It remains unknown when the new rules will commence, but a key element of the Trade Union Act 2016 is that industrial action will be lawful only when there has been a ballot turnout of at least 50%.
In “important public services”, including health, education and transport, an additional threshold of 40% of support from all eligible members must be met for industrial action to be legal.
The full detail of which public services will be deemed important has not been confirmed.
Employment minister Nick Boles said: “These changes will ensure people are only ever disrupted by industrial action when it is supported by a reasonable proportion of union members.
“The Trade Union Act means the rights of the public to go about their lives are fairly balanced with members’ ability to strike.”
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “The bill's progress today is a dark day for workers and for those who speak up in their defence when power is misused.
“Moreover, it is the workers of England who will bear the brunt of the Conservative Government's measures, for the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and No