Another hammer blow to the right to strike follows from the Court of Appeal decision of Metrobus versus Unite. Effectively the court decision places further restrictions on legally called strike action by insisting on the union notifying the employer of the ballot decision almost the instant that the union knows the result of the ballot, likewise the members.
This notification of the ballot result must come to the employers irrespective of whether the union is going to call for action or not.
New complications are introduced into the notice of ballot and notice of action served on the employer by the union. These are reinterpretations of sections of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Consolidation Act, so not new legislation but a further throttling with existing legislation.
Even the union’s use of article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the right to strike was dismissed.
This decision was handed down by the Court of Appeal nearly twelve months after the initial ballot commenced. So the direction in which trade union and related civil liberties are going is that the only lawful ballot can be one that is conducted by lawyers based upon legal interpretations that change from dispute to dispute – and every interpretation is against the unions.
There is no restriction on the employers challenging on any false, facile, imaginary ground or last-minute basis – the courts will hear the case.
If the delay incurred undermines the timeframe of the ballot then the employers can challenge again, so effectively permanently preventing a legal ballot!