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Ballot Ruling ‘Changes Strike Landscape For Employers’

Court Of Appeal Makes Landmark Ruling


An employment expert at Irwin Mitchell has stated that a landmark ruling over faults in the organisation of strike balloting looks set to increase the difficulty for employers to prevent action.

Rail unions ASLEF and the RMT have challenged injunctions designed to prevent strikes due to minor procedural faults, including polling those not entitled to vote and similar technicalities.

The Court of Appeal has now ruled in order to clarify the law, raising the issue that trade unions cannot guarantee they will have up-to-date personal information on members.

According to the Court, information should be "as accurate as was reasonably practicable", while the law should make allowances for "small accidental failures" in the keeping of records.

Discussing the judgement, Chris Piggott, an employment law specialist based at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office, said: “The findings of the Court of Appeal are being hailed as a significant victory for unions, with one union leader commenting that it will give millions of members the chance to take action over issues in the near future.

“However, for employers this looks set to be a very different story.

“The judgment means it is likely to be more difficult for companies to obtain interim injunctions to stop strike action taking place, particularly where they might previously have challenged any proposed strike action on the grounds of minor errors within the balloting process.

“It remains to be seen how businesses will react to the ruling, but there is strong evidence that the move certainly means they could have to consider other avenues when it comes to preventing staff from striking.”