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Trade Union (Wales) Act 2017

The Trade Union (Wales) Act 2017 (the 2017 Act) amends the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 to disapply certain provisions that had been applied to devolved Welsh public authorities by changes made to the 1992 Act by the Trade Union Act 2016. The effect of the 2017 Act is that the following matters do not apply to devolved Welsh public authorities:

  • the 40% ballot threshold for industrial action affecting important public services
  • powers to require the publication of information on facility time (when an employee takes time off to carry out duties and activities as a trade union representative) and to impose requirements on public sector employers in relation to paid facility time
  • restrictions on deduction of union subscriptions from wages by employers (commonly known as ‘check-off’).

The 2017 Act also prohibits devolved Welsh public authorities from using agency workers to cover the duties of staff engaged in official industrial action. Devolved Welsh public authorities include the Welsh NHS, local authorities, schools, fire services and Welsh Government Sponsored Bodies.

The Explanatory Notes to the 2017 Act provide detailed commentary on the various provisions.

Coming into force:

Sections 3 and 4 of the 2017 Act came into force on 8 September 2017, which was the day after the Act received Royal Assent, in accordance with section 3. This section also provides that sections 1 and 2 come into force on days specified in an order (or orders) made by the Welsh Ministers. The following order has been made:

The Trade Union (Wales) Act 2017 (Commencement) Order 2017

Subordinate legislation made under the Act:

No subordinate legislation has been made under this Act.

Consideration of the legislation by the Senedd: 

The Bill was introduced by Mark Drakeford MS, who was the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government at the time, on 16 January 2017. It was passed by Senedd Cymru (then known as the National Assembly for Wales) on 18 July 2017.

More information about the Bill is available on the Senedd’s website, including a record of the passage of the Bill through the Senedd and the Explanatory Memorandum that was prepared by the Welsh Government (as revised after Stage 2).
The Act received Royal Assent on 7 September 2017.

Related articles and information:

The Welsh Government prepared this guidance to the 2017 Act, which was published on 7 September 2017.

Published on
Last updated
15 August 2023