An insight into the Trade Union Bill

It has been hard to miss the proposed changes to the Trade Union Bill on the news over the last few months. In September 2015, the controversial bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons, but why is the bill so controversial and what will it mean to you as an employer?

The proposed reforms are intended by the government to tighten the law when it comes to employees in unions taking industrial action. Under current UK legislation, provided that statutory conditions are met, employers are unable to dismiss employees for taking industrial action. However, the government contends that some employees in trade unions may have been unlawfully engaged in strike action, meaning they may possibly be in breach of the terms and conditions of their employment. In order to make the law clearer on this and for both employees and their trade unions to be protected when taking industrial action, the following conditions must be met:The Trade Union Bill

  • The industrial action must be taken “in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute.”
  • The action must be supported by a ballot
  • The ballot itself must satisfy a series of procedural requirements
  • The action must be lawfully called
  • The union must notify the employer of its intention to take action
  • The action must take place within a specified period after the ballot

The Trade Union Bill makes the following proposed changes:

  • Introducing a 50% turnout threshold for a ballot
  • An additional threshold of 40% support in the case of “important public services”
  • The Bill proposes that voting papers for industrial action ballots will need to include detailed information about the issue and include a timescale for when the strike would occur
  • A four-month time limit for industrial action
  • Increasing the notice to be given to employers, notifying them of industrial action 14 days prior
  • Opting in – the law currently requires that trade unions wishing to contribute to political parties or engage in other political activities must establish a political fund. Trade unions that wish to continue such funds must ballot their members on this issue every ten years
  • Picketing – the Bill proposes a requirement for unions to supervise any picketing that takes place, by having a named union official to supervise the picket at all times

As you can see from this summary, the proposed modifications to trade union law, if made could mean significant changes to trade union activity. If you employ staff who are members of trade unions. It pays to keep abreast of current employment and trade union law. Understanding the legalities of employing staff and managing them appropriately can be a complex and time-consuming task, but by using a company that specialise in HR Outsourcing in Manchester you can help stay one step ahead. By Outsourcing HR services for your business you can buy in the expertise you need, when you need it. Don’t be confused by your role as an employer and by your legal responsibilities as an employer, let the HR experts at Triple Three Solutions help you.

For more information about HR Consultancy Services, HR Outsourcing in Manchester or for HR advice or support, contact Triple Three Solutions today on 0161 300 1214, or visit their website