National News

Last year, as the Trade Union Act 2016 concluded its passage through parliament, Labour MP Jo Stevens warned that the government had set itself on a “collision course” with Wales, which would end in the Supreme Court.

Indeed, Wales was open in its opposition to the Act so far as it affected industrial relations within Welsh public services, and this week the Assembly
fulfilled its vow to legislate in order to repeal those sections of the TUA that affect the devolved public sector by publishing the Trade Union (Wales) Bill.

The Bill proposes to overturn new laws to place an additional 40% support threshold on industrial ballots within "important" public services; reserved powers for Westminster to intervene in the facility time of public sector trade union representatives; and restrictions on the popular check-off system of deducting trade union subs from wages.

The UK government last year argued that Wales could not repeal the law as employment and industrial relations legislation has not been devolved, but Welsh Finance and Local Government Minister Mark Drakeford yesterday said that the Supreme Court has made it "clear" that where laws affect devolved responsibilities such as public services, the Welsh Assembly has jurisdiction.

Elsewhere, Westminster has published
new guidance on how the Trade Union Act will apply to "important" public services, as well as reports on the financial impact of changes to union political funds, and a new impact assessment on the Act as a whole.

The legislation is expected to come into force in April of this year.