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Trade Union Act 2016 and the Wales Act 2017 - Where Are We Now?

on Monday, 06 March 2017.

In January we reported an update on the Trade Union Act 2016 and the definition of important public services under the act.

It was previously announced that Wales would implement legislation to repeal sections of the Trade Union Act 2016, particularly sections which relate to reserved matters which the Welsh government said fell within their devolved legislative powers, such as the 40% ballot threshold for industrial action affecting important public services.

Wales has since introduced the Trade Union (Wales) Bill (the Bill) onto the National Assembly's agenda. Consultation on the Bill took place between 17 January 2017 and 17 February 2017. The consultation sought evidence to support the need for the Bill to ensure "continued and effective delivery of public services by dis-applying certain provisions of the UK Government’s Trade Union Act 2016 as they apply to devolved Welsh authorities". In particular, if the Bill does become law in Wales, the 40% ballot threshold for industrial action in important public services will not apply.

Separately, at the end of January, the Wales Bill (which amends the Government of Wales Act 2006) received Royal Assent, becoming the Wales Act 2017 (WA 2017). Under Schedule 1 of the WA 2017, reserved matters include "employment rights and duties and industrial relations" together with the subject matter of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. In light of this, it is not certain as to whether the WA 2017 will affect the Welsh Government's plan for implementing the Bill referred to above.

As it currently stands, it seems likely that the Trade Union Act 2016 will apply to both England and Wales, as the relevant provisions of the WA 2017 are not yet in force and the Bill is still in the early stages of passage through the National Assembly for Wales.

For more information please contact Mark Stevens on 0117 314 5401.

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