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GPs face new restrictions on strike action

GPs face new restrictions on strike action as a result of Government proposed reforms to trade union law.

Doctors and others have until September to voice their views on the Trade Union Bill, which would impose a 40% turnout threshold for strike ballots to be valid for ‘important public services’.

The Bill would also force unions to give more notice ahead of strike to allow employers to put in place ‘contingency plans’, allow employers to hire agency staff to cover for striking staff and enforce measures to tackle ‘intimidation’ of non-strikers.

The Government said it is introducing ‘fundamental reforms to modernise trade union law’, adding: ‘Reforms introduced by the Trade Union Bill will ensure that strike action only ever takes place on the basis of clear and representative mandates, through new thresholds that strike ballots must meet; improve transparency and oversight of trade unions require reasonable notice of strike action, and give employers greater chance to prepare for industrial action and put in place contingency plans.’

The three-part consultation, which is open to all, runs until 9 September.

The most recent strike action involving GPs, the BMA’s day of action against pensions reforms in 2012, saw a 50% turnout in the ballot.