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Most UK businesses support strike law reform

The majority of UK businesses support reform to strike law, law firm Eversheds has found.

Eversheds surveyed 400 UK businesses about the main political parties’ HR-related policy commitments. The results have been seen exclusively by HR magazine.

It found 62% of respondents would like strike laws to be reformed to better support employers and the public.

Of those keen for reform, 83% said they supported a change in the ballot process in essential services that ensures at least 40% of union members balloted vote in favour, rather than just those who vote.

More than 70% want unions to have to give longer notice of and more details about strike action.

The Conservative party recently pledged to introduce measures that require 40% of union members to back industrial action, if they win the May election.

Eversheds partner and head of HR Martin Warren said strike laws haven’t changed for years and that employers are “frustrated” about the disruption industrial action can cause, often with little notice.

Other areas of interest for employers include strong support for changes to zero-hours contracts, with 64% of respondents supporting the payment of compensation if shifts are cancelled at short notice.

However, 55% opposed the introduction of an automatic right for zero-hours contract workers to be given a fixed hours contract after 12 months.

On the subject of pay, more than 50% support proposals to enhance pay transparency and fairness.

Almost all (96%) said they wanted to see improved enforcement of the national minimum wage. But less than half (45%) want companies to be required to disclose the pay gap between top earners and average employees.

Eight in 10 (81%) are against extending employment rights to a broader range of workers, and 54% are in favour of increasing the two-week paternity leave period.

Warren said pay fairness, strike law reform and zero-hour contract changes came out as the most important areas for employers.

“More than ever, good employers are currently at risk of being undercut by the bad,” he said. “Trafficking, dodging the minimum wage, bogus self-employment and more are not only exploitative, they harm UK Plc.”