Laura Sharman 27 May 2015

Queen's speech 2015: Tougher laws on strike action

The Conservatives have pledged to ‘protect essential public services against strikes’, using today’s Queen’s Speech to confirm it will set a tougher threshold for industrial action.

Under reforms to strike laws, the Government will ban strike action in health, education, fire and transport unless the majority of eligible union members vote in favour of striking, with at least 40% needing to take part in strike ballots.

In its manifesto, the Conservatives also said they would overturn restrictions banning employers from hiring agency staff to provide cover during strike action. It also pledged to reduce trade union facility time and legislate to ensure trade unions use a transparent opt-in process for union subscriptions.

The Enterprise Bill – intended to cut red tape for small businesses and drive forward economic growth – also outlines plans to improve the business rates system ahead of the planned reform in 2017 and measures to allow the Valuation Office Agency to share information with local government.

As confirmed earlier this week, the Government will also scrap six figures ‘golden goodbyes’ for public sector workers, expected to be set at £95,000.

Chancellor George Osborne said this measure would ensure ‘fairness and value for money for the taxpayer.’ In 2013, 1,838 public sector employees received redundancy payouts over £100,000.

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