Employment law specialist solicitors serving Dundee and Scotland
The UK Government are to reform the ballot system and the way industrial action can legally occur in a bid to prevent “back door” strikes.
The Business Secretary Sajid Javid has said there will be "significant changes" to strike laws especially for public workers such as transport, fire services and schools, with the changes to the laws considered to be a priority for the Conservative Government.
Under current rules a strike is valid regardless of turnout. If most vote for the motion then it will come into effect.
The Government have been criticised by some Unions for their reforms with any stating that it will make it almost impossible to strike, with the TUC stating: "Union negotiators will be left with no more power than Oliver Twist when he asked for more." However, Sajid Javid said: "The changes that we want to make to strike laws are... proportionate, they're sensible. If you look at other countries and what they've done they're not too dissimilar.
"What people are fed up of is strike action that hasn't been properly supported by the members of the relevant union.
"We've seen, including in the last five years, strike action that took place where perhaps only 10% to 15% of the members of that profession actually voted for it, and that's not right, it's unfair, especially when it comes to essential public services.”
"Think of the impact it has - transport, health services - on ordinary people, going about their daily jobs - they should be in people's minds."
Under the reforms, there will be a required 50% turnout threshold for ballots on industrial action, with current industrial action not needing any turnout. There will need to be at least a 40% majority of those eligible to vote in order to back strike action in key public services such as health, education and transport, which is significantly to the current process. The government are also expected to announce in the Queen’s speech that they propose to allow temporary staff to cover for striking staff, a ban that has been in place since 1973.
A government spokesman defended the proposals stating that they were similar to other reforms on industrial action seen in other countries. A spokesperson said: "Strikes should always be the result of a clear, positive decision by those balloted.
“That is why we will legislate to stop undemocratic industrial action and ensure that the interests of working people are protected."
If you require legal advice or representation on any employment law issue, whether it be over potential industrial action, discrimination or harassment in the workplace or if it is to negotiate a settlement agreement, our team of dedicated solicitors can help. Contact us today using our online contact form to get in touch with our skilled employment solicitors.