On taking office in May 1979, Mrs Thatcher appointed James Prior as her Secretary for Employment. Prior had previously been the Opposition spokesman on the subject, and he was inclined to favour a live-and-let-live policy. On the other hand, the events of 1978–9 had convinced him and the whole Tory leadership that something had to be done about secondary picketing—that is to say, the picketing of ... [Show full abstract] firms not directly involved in a dispute—and also about the closed shop. In July 1979, therefore, he issued a consultative document which called for the limitation of picketing to employees involved in a dispute and to their place of work, for expansion of exemptions from the closed shop, and for the provision of public funds for secret ballots before strikes and in the election of full-time trade-union officers. A bill along these lines (later the Employment Act, 1980) was introduced to the Commons in December 1979 and obtained the Royal Assent in the summer of the following year. Although Prior began discussions on the bill with the T.U.C., the latter broke them off on 4 March 1980 and called for a ‘Day of Action’ on 14 May—a one-day strike against the government’s policies.