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Briefing: the Government’s proposed new Trade Unions Bill

The Government’s recent Queen’s Speech (27 May) included new draconian restrictions on the right to strike, with the introduction of a 50% voting threshold for union ballots turnouts and a new requirement that 40% of those entitled to vote must vote in favour of industrial action in certain essential public services including fire, education, health and transport. The government also announced they will lift a ban on use of agency staff when strike action takes place, and impose restrictions on picketing, further undermining the collective bargaining power of working people.

In addition, the Government has proposed new legislation to change union political funds from the current ‘opt-out’ system to an ‘opt-in’ system, a transparent attempt to reduce the ability of trade unions to fund not only political parties but a wide range of other non-party political activities. An “opt-in” system for trade union political funds would affect all political activities of trade unions, as well as donations to the Labour Party.

This joint briefing from Class, with the Institute of Employment Rights (IER) and with advice from Michael Ford QC, outlines further details on the various parts of the new Bill and provides analysis of the likely impact of the proposed legislation ahead of its publication.