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Consultation on New Industrial Action Laws

on Friday, 24 July 2015.

The consultation on the Trade Union Bill, which proposes significant reform to the law in relation to industrial action is now open.

The Queen's Speech previously outlined the Trade Union Bill.

There is consultation on the following:

Hiring Agency Staff to Replace Staff on Strike During Industrial Action

Regulation 7 of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations 2003 prohibits businesses from supplying employers with temporary workers to perform duties usually carried out by striking workers or the duties usually carried out by other workers who have been assigned to cover striking workers. The consultation requests views on the removal of this regulation. The purpose being to reduce the disruption that strikes cause to the economy and society more generally by allowing employers to engage agency workers to fill the gap left by those participating in a strike during periods of industrial action. This will help with contingency planning and allow businesses and services to remain open.

Ballot Thresholds Approving Strikes in Public Services

This consultation is tasked with determining which public service roles should be subject to the proposed 40% approval threshold for workers balloted to authorise any industrial action. Expected industries to be affected with this proposed approval threshold are likely to be the health, education, fire, transport, border security and energy industries.

Picketing and Intimidation By Trade Unions

A consultation has begun on measures within the Trade Union Bill that will legally enforce some aspects of the Code of Practice on Picketing. One example of this is the requirement for a trade union to inform the police of the time and location of the picket and also to nominate a picket supervisor.

In addition, the consultation paper also includes measures to prevent the intimidation of non-striking workers including intimidation and protest via social-media.

The consultation process closes on 9 September 2015, with a summary of the responses expected to be published within six weeks.

We will be participating in the various consultations so if anyone has any strong views on any of the above, please contact Jo Oliver in our Employment Law team on 0117 314 5361.