High Court blow for unions

Submitted by AWL on 19 August, 2013 - 3:43

A High Court Judge has ruled that two of the actions in an RMT campaign of industrial action "short of a strike" at East Midlands Trains are unlawful, as they technically compromise strike action and are therefore not covered by the union's ballot for action short.

RMT balloted its East Midlands Trains members for the action in a dispute over a range of issues relating to major upgrade work at Nottingham station. As part of the action, members refused to work various turns and duties outside their agreed rosters - effectively a form of "work to rule".

East Midlands Trains bosses sought a High Court injunction against the action, claiming that refusal to work represented a strike rather than an "action short of a strike". A judge granted the injunction on 15 August.

The ruling sets a precedent that means unions may now have to ballot for strikes in order to take actions previously covered by "action short" ballots. It also gives bosses potential legal ballast against any worker who wants to work within the terms of their contracts.

The rest of the RMT's action on East Midlands Trains, including an overtime ban and a ban on rest-day working, will continue.

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