Following months of debate and campaigning, the Trade Union Bill gained Royal Assent this week (04 May 2016). The final Act is a watered down version of the original punitive proposals made by the Tories, but it still presents a major challenge to the Labour Movement, particularly through the imposition of support and turnout thresholds on strike ballots; the introduction of reserve powers for Ministers to place a cap on facility time in the public sector; and the change to an opt-in process for unions' political funds, which presents a major risk to the funding of political opposition to the Tory Party.

Some gains were made in the Lords, with the government backing down on its planned - and entirely unjustified - prohibition of check-off in the public sector, although even here the law now allows employers to challenge the agreement, putting this time-honoured system on more fragile ground. While evidence shared in the Lords suggests most public sector employers want to continue with check-off, there were worrying indications that some authorities might use their powers to scrap the process for purely ideological reasons.

Taken from Institute of Employment Rights News Brief.