Employers will welcome news that secondary industrial action, or ‘sympathy strikes’, remains unlawful despite the RMT’s challenge before the European Court of Human Rights. The court has ruled that the UK ban on such action does not breach the right to freedom of association in Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Although secondary action is covered by Article 11, the ban pursued the legitimate aim of protecting the rights and freedoms of others, including the employer and the wider interests of the public, and was proportionate.
The RMT’s claim that the notification rules for industrial action ballots infringe Article 11 was inadmissible on the facts. (RMT v United Kingdom, application no. 31045/10, ECHR)
On 4 April the Government announced an independent review led by Bruce Carr QC into the legal implications of alleged intimidation tactics, examining the law around so-called ‘leverage’ tactics used by trade unions and the role of employers in industrial disputes. The review is expected to take six months and include recommendations for change.