Trade Union Act 2016

The controversial Trade Union Act became law in May 2016.


Many of the more damaging aspects of the legislation were withdrawn or scaled back from the original bill, following a hard fought campaign by trade unions, including the CSP, and a range of other civil society organisations.

Find out more about CSP involvement in the campaign from some of our main news stories:

Find out more:
  • Government review into union electronic balloting welcome, says TUC

Mass lobby of parliament

CSP members had also joined a mass lobby of parliament back in November 2015 to ask MPs to vote against the controversial trade union bill:



Above: CSP members Katharine Netherton and Jill Barker with CSP director Claire Sullivan (centre) - photo: Tom Gill

Speaking at a rally held opposite parliament Jill Barker, chair of the CSP industrial relations committee, said it was crucial that ‘the MPs of David Cameron’s government know that trade union bill - and austerity policies – are bad for the nation’s health.

Ms Barker told a packed Westminster Central Hall that the bill, which includes measures that would restrict balloting for industrial action and further restrict picketing, had to be defeated ‘because it's an attack on our fundamental democratic right to protest’.

A physio in the North East of England, Ms Barker criticized the proposals in the draft legislation on using agency workers during industrial action as unsafe for workers and potentially unsafe for patients too, for ‘there simply is no substitute workforce with the right training, skills and experience to substitute professional NHS staff.’

Katharine Netherton, London steward and physio, said:

'The bill will make it harder the CSP to defend our members' work rights and that will have a knock on effect on patients and the NHS.

'As a union we want to work in partnership with government and employers. We both want the same thing: high quality care for patients and a happy motivated work force.’

Chris Manning, a London-based physiotherapy lecturer and member of the CSP's industrial relations committee said:

'Trade unions benefit employers as well as employees. The government should appreciate our role rather than attack union and workers' rights. I hope my MP will see sense and vote against the bill.'

In a press statement ahead of the lobby, Claire Sullivan, CSP director said:

'The Trade Union Bill is a regressive piece of legislation that will affect not only the right to strike but will undermine effective negotiations between workers and employers around pay and working conditions.

'This Bill has been criticised by the police, business, NHS managers and politicians from across the political spectrum.

'If the Government really was interested in democracy at work as they claim, it would introduce electronic and secure workplace balloting.'

Workers from all sectors - both public and private - attended the TUC-led event, including AHPs and other NHS staff.

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