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Trade unions and industrial action: key differences in Scotland and Northern Ireland

Updating author: Nick Chronias, DAC Beachcroft, consultant editor (Scotland): Gillian MacLellan, consultant editor (Northern Ireland): Gareth Walls

Future developments

On 20 July 2023, the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023 received Royal Assent, allowing the UK Government to set minimum service requirements during strikes in certain sectors across the UK. On 7 November 2023, the Government laid before Parliament draft minimum service regulations which will, if enacted, affect passenger rail and border security services in Scotland (see Handling industrial action for more information). 



The legislation that applies in England and Wales extends to Scotland with the exception of the Highways Act 1980 (under which it is a criminal offence wilfully to obstruct the free passage along a highway without lawful authority or excuse).