The Trade Union Act 2017- Update


The Law of...understanding the Trade Union Act

Draft regulations defining “important public services” under the Trade Union Act 2016 (the Act) have now been published with a possible commencement date of 1 March 2017, suggesting that it is intended that the Act will also come into force on that date.

Employment Law

The Act introduces further hurdles for unions to overcome in order to engage in lawful industrial action. This will give employers even more opportunity to try to use the law to block balloted industrial action on technical grounds.

Under the Act it is not enough for the majority to vote for the action. There will now also need to be a 50% turnout of those eligible to vote for industrial action to be lawful

What is more, the Act requires that where the majority of those being balloted work in “important public services”, at least 40% of those eligible to vote must vote in favour.

“Important public services” are now defined as follows:

Health – emergency ambulance and hospital accident and emergency, high-dependency, intensive care, urgent psychiatric and obstetric and midwifery services (Important Public Services (Health) Regulations 2017)

Fire – firefighting, protecting life and property where there is a fire and services responding to requests for those services (Important Public Services (Fire) Regulations 2017)

Transport – local London bus services, passenger railway services, civic air traffic control and airport and port security services (Important Public Services (Transport) Regulations 2017)

Education  – the services of teachers to those under the age of 17, including head teachers, in non-fee paying schools, Academies and further education institutions (Important Public Services (Education) Regulations 2017)

Border Security – examination by Border Force Officers of those arriving or leaving the UK and of imports and exports and related direction, control and intelligence services (Important Public Services (Border Security) Regulations 2017)

For further information on these changes and an overview of the other provisions of the Act please click the following link to be taken to our earlier publications:

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