Legal Notice of Strike Action

Any national industrial action will be based on an aggregated ballot. Local or regional measures may follow aggregated or individual votes in the workplace. Much will depend on what is at stake and on the Union`s approach. Illegal strikes due to misconduct by strikers. Strikers who have committed serious misconduct during a strike may be refused reinstatement in their former workplace. This applies to both economic strikers and unfair labour practices. Serious misconduct includes violence and threats of violence. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a strike “sit-in,” in which workers simply stay at the factory and refuse to work, depriving the owner of property, is not protected by law. The following are examples of serious misconduct that may result in the loss of the right to reinstatement of the workers concerned: If the commencement of the action is delayed because of an injunction or legal proceeding prohibiting the union from taking industrial action during the period of six or four weeks, a trade union may apply to the court for an injunction: which, in the case of such legislation, provide that the period during which the prohibition takes effect shall not be taken into account in the four-week or six-month period. However, under no circumstances does a trade union enjoy immunity if it calls for industrial action for the first time more than 12 weeks after the date of the elections. This provision shall not apply to votes started before 1 March 2017.

In such cases, provided that the class action has commenced within four weeks (or eight weeks with the consent of the employer) of the end of the vote, there is no absolute limit to the period during which these measures can be applied continuously or intermittently. TULR(C)A also requires unions to appoint an independent auditor to oversee any industrial action they organise. This requirement does not apply to ballots with 50 or fewer members, but the number of ballots involved in separate workplace elections (involved in the same dispute) should be aggregated for this purpose. Section 8(g) of the National Labour Relations Act requires all labour organizations to give employers in the health sector at least 10 days` notice before they can engage in a “concerted refusal to work.” The National Labour Relations Board has ruled that the action of unit members who refuse to work overtime is considered a “concerted refusal to work” and requires 10 days` notice under the NLRA. If the union does not do everything reasonably possible to ensure that the right workers participate in the vote, the courts can strike down the ballot. In RMT v Midland Mainline Ltd [2001] IRLR 813, the Court of Appeal found that the union had failed to comply with this requirement for two reasons. First, not all reasonably practicable steps were taken to ensure that they had the correct information on the jobs and ranks of their members. Second, the union failed to properly inform the employer and union members of a union policy aimed at excluding members who were in arrears with the payment of dues from voting. The ballot paper was therefore declared invalid and the injunction to prevent industrial action was upheld. Company votes are no longer legal and, therefore, all votes relating to industrial actions must be made entirely by post.

Members must be able to vote by secret ballot, without interference or coercion by the union and at no cost to themselves. The Code of Conduct: Collective Action Agreements and Communications to Employers clarifies and summarizes the current legal situation. In Germany, a strike is the typical social dispute between workers and trade unions. To be legal, a strike must meet certain formal requirements and have a legitimate purpose. Formally, a strike must (i) be organized by a union; and (ii) after a strike vote conducted in accordance with democratic principles. Therefore, a so-called “wildcat strike” that is not organized by a union is illegal. Every strike must have a legal purpose, which can only be to change working conditions. In addition, a strike must be conducted in an appropriate and lawful manner. Therefore, the union cannot occupy the premises, call on the employer`s customers to boycott the product, or prevent workers who want to work from entering and working on the premises.

Legislation in this area is complemented by the Code of Conduct: Industrial Disputes and Notices to Employers, updated by the Secretary of State in March 2017, which, although not legally binding, can be taken into account in any legal proceedings. To do this, the law requires that there be a vote of workers according to strict legal requirements before industrial action is demanded or approved. Only if such a vote results in a majority for industrial action and at least 50 percent of the electorate has voted, is the action legal. For essential public services, at least 40% of eligible voters must have voted in favour of the action.