22 September 2017 #Employment
Since 1 March 2017, one of the conditions for a strike ballot to be lawful is that voting papers must include the period in which the proposed industrial action is to take place.
In July 2017, Thomas Cook pilots who are members of the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) voted to strike after rejecting a 4% pay rise. The voting papers proposed dates between 8 September 2017 and 18 February 2018, with the specific dates of the strikes to be announced closer to the time.
Thomas Cook sought an interim injunction to prevent the strike action taking place. They argued that the law required specific dates to be provided for the action on the voting papers, and that the timescale provided was not specific enough.
The High Court disagreed, finding that the law does not require the specific dates of proposed industrial action. The court accepted that the timing of industrial action within the proposed period is likely to change depending on the progress of any negotiations.
The strike action was allowed to go ahead, and started on 8 September 2017.
The decision shows that employers are likely to face an uphill struggle if they try to rely on overly technical interpretations of the law to prevent industrial action.
For advice on industrial action and employee relations, please contact the Employment Team.