FE colleges that recruit learners from the age of 14 will be covered by tough new strike rules, the government has finally confirmed.

Its ballot threshold consultation response, published today, lists teaching and leadership of “pupils aged 5 to 16 in state-funded schools” as “important public services” which would be subject to the new 40 per cent support threshold for strike action, as part of the new trade union bill.

And a spokesperson for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) confirmed that “any teacher teaching a child under 17 will be covered by the 40 per cent threshold, whether in an FE college or a school”.

Under new rules in the trade union bill, which was introduced by the Business Secretary Sajid Javid (pictured above), a 50 per cent turnout requirement will be set for all strike action, with a separate requirement that strikes in “important” areas such as education and health have the support of 40 per cent of those eligible to vote.

According to the wording of the bill, the 40 per cent support threshold would apply to staff working with provision covering statutory school age pupils, meaning those aged five to 16.

At the moment, strike action can be called if a simple majority is in favour. That means that no matter how many eligible voters cast ballots, any vote share over 50 per cent in favour will count as support.

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