Belfast Telegraph

Trade union reforms receive Royal Assent

The Government's controversial trade union reforms have become law, introducing a threshold for workers voting in strike ballots for action to be legal.

The Trade Union Bill received Royal Assent, with measures including strikes only going ahead when there has been a ballot turnout of at least 50%.

An additional threshold of 40% support from those eligible to vote will have to be met in public services such as health, education, transport, border security and the fire service.

A series of amendments were accepted by the Government during the parliamentary process.

One of the compromises includes a climb-down on attempts to force all trade union members to have to opt-in to paying a political levy.

The opt-in will now only apply to new union members and not existing members, as originally planned.

Ministers also agreed to an independent review of electronic ballots for strike action, having previously opposed the move.

Employment Minister Nick Boles said of measures in the Trade Union Act: "These changes will ensure people are only ever disrupted by industrial action when it is supported by a reasonable proportion of union members.

"The Act means the rights of the public to go about their lives are fairly balanced with members' ability to strike. This piece of legislation delivers key manifesto commitments."