If you have a highly unionised workforce, or if you live or work close to the Southern Rail line, you may be interested to know it’s confirmed that the major provisions of the Trade Union Act 2016 will come into force on 1 March - it's been a long time time coming, but regulations have now been made confirming this date. 

In brief, this legislation makes it more difficult for a trade union to embark on industrial action. Key provisions which will be law from that date include:

  • Two weeks’ notice must be given to employers of industrial action;
  • For a ballot to be valid, 50% of eligible members must have voted;
  • And for important public services, the overall support for the action must be 40%. That includes public transportation services.

So for example, if the ballot turnout is 70% and 60% vote in favour of the action, then 42% would have been in favour. But if only 65% had turned out, support would have been 39%, therefore the industrial action would be unlawful. To compare, 2015 had the highest turnout of the last four general elections at 65.8%; 2001 was 59. And the percentage voting for the winning party in a general election is often below 40%.

Law for the online generation starts here.