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Public Services (Disruption) Bill [HL]

Public Services (Disruption) Bill [HL]







make provision to contain disruption of public services by collective

industrial action; and for connected purposes.

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and

consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present

Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

 1     Mandatory arbitration

     (1)    A trade union shall not seek resolution of any dispute which at its instigation

could disrupt a public service as designated under section 3 of this Act by

withdrawal of the services of its members.

     (2)    Subsection (1) shall not apply where a dispute has been subject to arbitration


at the Central Arbitration Committee.

     (3)    An award by the Central Arbitration Committee under subsection (2) shall

have binding effect only when made an order of the High Court, and be subject

to enforcement.

 2     High Court jurisdiction


     (1)    No public service shall be disrupted by primary or any form of secondary

collective industrial action taken to cause such disruption at the instigation of

any trade union unless and until the High Court shall have adjudged that the

disruption proposed is neither excessive nor disproportionate within the

meaning of section 3 of this Act.


     (2)    On breach of subsection (1) the High Court may grant an injunction, award

damages, and make such order as may be deemed to be just and convenient

against the trade union and any officer of the trade union at whose instigation

such disruption occurred and against any person or body acting in

contemplation or in furtherance of such breach at the instigation of an officer


of any Trade Union.

HL Bill 34 53/2

Public Services (Disruption) Bill [HL]



     (3)    The individual entitlement to withdraw or withhold labour if exercised as such

is to be respected.

 3     Interpretation

     (1)    Disproportionate action means collective industrial action excessive to

resolution of a dispute which has occasioned or would occasion—


           (a)           substantial hardship, expense and inconvenience to the general public,


           (b)           substantial damage to the economy.

     (2)    Public service shall include any road, sea, rail and other transport service,

postal and telecommunications service, public administration, health,


education and social service, electricity, gas and water supply defined as such

in the Standard Industrial Classification issued by the Office for National

Statistics and Fire Brigade Services.

     (3)    The Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument designate a

service as a public service for the purposes of this Act.


     (4)    An order made under subsection (3) shall not be made unless laid in draft

before Parliament and approved by a resolution of each House.

 4     Short title, commencement and extent

     (1)    This Act may be cited as the Public Services (Disruption) Act 2003.

     (2)    This Act extends to England and Wales and Scotland.


     (3)    This Act shall come into force in accordance with provision made by the

Secretary of State by order.

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Revised 18 February 2003