House of Lords Library

Trade Union Bill (HL Bill 74 of 2015–16)

Published Friday, November 20, 2015

This briefing provides information in support of the House of Lords consideration of the Trade Union Bill.

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The Trade Union Bill seeks to reform several elements of trade union administration, including but not limited to:

The introduction of turnout thresholds for industrial action ballots.

  • The introduction of additional requirements for the setting up of lawful pickets.
  • The extension of the powers of the Certification Officer.
  • The replacement of the current ‘opt-out’ system for trade union political funds with an ‘opt-in’ system.
  • The establishment of a regulation making power through which requirements would be placed upon some or all public sector employers to publish information relating to facility time.
  • The introduction of a prohibition on certain public sector employers providing a “check-off” service to their employees.

The Conservative Party’s 2015 manifesto included a number of commitments including plans to introduce thresholds for ballots, an opt-in process for trade union political funds, changes to facility time, and to reform the role of the Certification Officer. The Bill’s provisions on check-off were added during the Commons committee stage, and did not feature in the manifesto. The Government is also currently consulting on provisions to allow employers to hire agency staff during strikes but such provisions do not feature in the Bill. The Government has also recently concluded a consultation on “tackling intimidation of non-striking workers”. During the Bill’s report stage in the House of Commons, on 11 November 2015, four amendments were divided upon, and three Government amendments were agreed without division. The Government amendments related to the Bill’s picketing provisions.

Lords Library notes LLN-2015-0044

Author: Charley Coleman

Topics: Employment, Industrial relations

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