Government to introduce new legislation to make strike laws fairer for all

Under the current situation, a small minority of trade union members can fundamentally disrupt the lives of millions of commuters, parents, workers and employers at short notice – without clear support.

The government say that this new Trade Union Bill will address this imbalance by introducing: a 50 per cent threshold for ballot turn-out; an additional threshold of 40 per cent of support to take industrial action from all members eligible to vote in the key health, education, fire, transport, border security and energy sectors – including the Border Force and nuclear decommissioning.

The government claims that these changes will ensure strikes are the result of a clear and positive democratic mandate from union members: upholding the right to strike while reducing disruption to millions of people.

It will also put in place safeguards to ensure non-striking members of a workforce are able to go about their business without fear of intimidation. Those who want to work should be able to.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Trade unions have a constructive role to play in representing their members’ interests but our one nation government will balance their rights with those of working people and business.

“These changes are being introduced so that strikes only happen when a clear majority of those entitled to vote have done so and all other possibilities have been explored.

“This will deliver a key commitment we made in our Manifesto.”

Employment minister Nick Boles said: “People have the right to expect that services on which they and their families rely are not going to be disrupted at short notice by strikes that have the support of only a small proportion of union members.

“These are sensible and fair reforms that balance the right to strike with the right of millions of people to go about their daily lives without last minute disruption.”

Consultations on the proposed introduction of a 40 per cent threshold for important public sectors; reforming and modernising the rules and code of practice on picketing and protests linked to industrial disputes, and for the repeal of a ban on the use of agency workers open today on Gov.UK and will be open until September.

These proposals come in light of The Federation of Small Businesses estimating £600 million was lost in working hours, business and productivity during the recent London tube strike.

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