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Code of Practice issued on "reasonable steps" for unions to take under Strikes Act

on Tuesday, 19 December 2023.

The Department for Business and Trade has issued the Code of Practice on the "reasonable steps" trade unions will be required to take to comply with the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023 (Strikes Act).


The Strikes Act allows the Government to set minimum service levels in "relevant services" including education, health and fire and rescue. Minimum service levels must be preserved during strike action and employers will be entitled to issue work notices requiring certain staff to refrain from participation in the strike action if they are needed to preserve the minimum service level in that service.

The Strikes Act requires unions to take "reasonable steps" to comply with a work notice but does not provide any further explanation as to what a reasonable step might be. It is essential for unions and employers to be clear on this because failing to comply with a work notice would mean a strike would not be protected in law.

The Government consulted earlier this year on a Code of Practice for trade unions to follow in order to take "reasonable steps" to comply with a work notice issued under the Strikes Act.

Code of Practice

In its consultation response, the Government made changes to the original draft Code of Practice. The final version has now been laid before Parliament for approval. It has been issued and took effect from 8 December. However, no minimum service levels will be imposed until they are implemented by secondary legislation, with each "relevant service" to be addressed separately.

For more information or advice, please contact Michael Halsey, in our Employment team, at 020 7665 0842 or complete the form below.


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