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ATCU, an accountable and democratic independent Union founded to address the issues affecting all our colleagues and to meet the aspirations of all those working in the rail  industry.


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A  rail revolution


4 May 2016


The Government’s controversial Trade Union Bill received Royal Assent today and becomes the Trade Union Act 2016.


Key provisions are:-


 requirement for at least 50% turnout in votes for industrial action

in certain public services, including in the health, education, transport, border security and fire sectors;


 an additional threshold of 40% of support to take industrial action from all eligible members must be met for action to be legal;


 setting a 6 month time limit (which can be increased to 9 months if the union and employer agree) for industrial action so that mandates are always recent;


 requiring a clearer description of the trade dispute and the planned industrial action on the ballot paper, so that all union members are clear what they are voting for


 creating a transparent process for trade union subscriptions that allows new members to make an active choice of paying into political funds and


 ensuring that payroll deductions for trade union subscriptions are only administered where the cost is not funded by the public


 require that notice of industrial action is doubled to 14 days, unless the employer agrees to seven days.




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.


A repeal on the ban for employers to hire agency workers to cover for employees taking on industrial action, which was proposed last year, has not been included in the Trade Union Act 2016.


The commencement date is not known; it will be brought into force by a statutory instrument in due course.


For recent comments and reports, please go to:


The Government seems more than happy to see the union movement as an enemy once again


The warnings were there for all to see


The right to withdraw your labour under attack





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