The Government has recently commenced three consultations in relation to its proposed reforms to industrial action.
The first consultation deals with the proposed changes to the percentage vote required for strike action in essential public services. It is proposed that employees providing essential public services will only be able to take lawful industrial action if the vote has the backing of at least 40% of eligible trade union members. The current rule only requires a majority of those voting to approve the action. That means that there can be a vote to strike when there is a small turnout provided that the 50% threshold is reached. It is also suggested that there will now need to be a minimum 50% turnout in any successful strike ballot. The consultation seeks views on which occupations within public services such as fire, health and education, should be subject to the 40% threshold.
The Government are also consulting on their proposals to allow employers to use agency staff to provide strike cover for essential public services and on how to deal with intimidation of non-striking workers. In relation to this final point, the consultation seeks views on whether a specific crime of intimidation while on the picket line, should be introduced.
The consultations close on 9 September 2015.
All three consultation documents can be found here.
For more information see our previous blog on the proposed new reforms.