Notices relating to industrial action (Clause 4)
The Government will remove the obligation on unions to provide employers with the names of individuals to be balloted or called upon to take part in industrial action. A union will now be obliged to provide "such information in the union's possession as would help the employer to make plans and bring information to the attention of those" employees to be balloted. This expressly does not require the union to provide names of individuals, but does require information on the number, category or workplace of the employees concerned.
Industrial action ballots: period of effectiveness (Clause 5)
The Conservative legislation required unions to commence industrial action within 4 weeks of the close of ballot for the union to retain protection against legal action by the employer. It will now be possible for this period to be extended to 8 weeks by agreement between the union and the employer. In a multi-employer dispute, each employer would be treated separately.
Industrial action and unfair dismissal (Clause 15)
Workers who are dismissed whilst taking part in lawful industrial action are currently denied legal redress unless not all of them are dismissed or there is selective re-engagement within three months.
Under the new law, it will be automatically unfair to dismiss an employee for taking part in industrial action in certain circumstances. This protection will apply where the dismissal takes place within the first eight weeks of the action; where the employee ceased taking action within eight weeks (even if the dismissal took place after eight weeks); and in any case where the employer has failed to follow an appropriate procedure to resolve the industrial dispute.
These rights only apply where the industrial action is lawful and protected by a ballot which complies with the existing legislation. Where action is repudiated by the union, the protection for the workers is lost if they carry on with the action for more than one further day.