© Associated Train Crew Union.
ATCU, an accountable and democratic independent Union founded to address the issues affecting all our colleagues and to meet the aspirations of all those working in the rail industry.
Break the chains of slavery and let your voice be your freedom
In British law there is no right to strike and employers can take action against the almost inevitable breach of contract that striking would cause.
However, where a union has complied fully with the balloting requirements, the 1992 Act confers some protections from dismissal during:
The first 12 weeks of the dispute, this will be extended by any period of lock-out
Longer if the employer has not taken reasonable steps to resolve the dispute
After the 12 weeks if the worker has ceased taking action.
The result of the above is that any dismissals during this period will be automatically unfair if the principal reason is that the employee took the industrial action and:
action is protected if union has balloted etc.
in that event, protection extends to all those induced by union to take action or turn back at picket line.
This protection applies regardless of whether the employee is a member of the union calling the action or indeed a member of any union at all, for example:
Union A, having complied fully with the ballot and notice requirements, confers protection not only on its own members but also on non-members and on members of Union B.
As stated in GOV.UK titled ‘Taking part in industrial action and strikes,’ that:
‘Non-union members who take part in legal, official industrial action have the same rights as union members not to be dismissed as a result of taking action.’
Of course, Union B must not encourage its own members, by “a nod and a wink” to participate in the action: if it does, it will be taken to have induced the action, thus depriving its members (and any other employees whom it induces) of protection from dismissal.
The above is different to secondary action where it’s in support of workers taking action against another employer (otherwise known as ‘sympathy’ or ‘secondary’ action)
For more information on strike action in Britain and Europe please see ATCU article: