Trade Union Act 2016

Did you know that the highly debated Trade Union Bill has become law?

The Bill received Royal Assent on the 4th May 2016 and became law as the Trade Union Act. For public sector employers especially health, education, transport, border security and fire sectors this will be welcome news as the changes have a direct impact on future ballot for strike action and greater clarity on how balloting takes place. In summary the key changes taking effect from 4th May 2016 are:

  • Industrial action will only go ahead where there has been a ballot turnout of at least 50% and more importantly for certain public sector services like health, education, transport, border security and fire sectors a further mandate that 40% of eligible members must vote in support of strike action for it to take place.
  • setting a 6 month time limit (which can be increased to 9 months if the union and employer agree) for industrial action so that mandates are always recent.
  • requiring a clearer description of the trade dispute and the planned industrial action on the ballot paper, so that all union members are clear what they are voting for
  • creating a transparent process for trade union subscriptions that allows new members to make an active choice of paying into political funds
  • giving more powers to the Certification Officer to ensure new and existing rules are always followed by unions
  • reducing the burden on taxpayers by ensuring that payroll deductions for trade union subscriptions are only administered where the cost is not funded by the public and ensuring transparency and greater accountability relating to the use of public money for facility time More information about the Trade Union Act can be found at