The right to take industrial action
The right to take industrial action

The following Employment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • The right to take industrial action
  • Common law liability
  • Statutory immunity from liability
  • Workers not entitled to strike

IP COMPLETION DAY: 11pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020 marks the end of the Brexit transition/implementation period entered into following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. At this point in time (referred to in UK law as ‘IP completion day’), key transitional arrangements come to an end and significant changes begin to take effect across the UK’s legal regime. This document contains guidance on subjects impacted by these changes. Before continuing your research, see Practice Note: Brexit and IP completion day—implications for employment lawyers.

The ability to withdraw labour is a powerful weapon in the arsenal available to trade unions, and hence industrial action forms a significant aspect of collective bargaining. It is subject to considerable and complex statutory control.

At common law, industrial action will generally be unlawful. The participants in industrial action will often be acting in breach of their contracts of employment. The trade union that organises the industrial action will usually commit one or more of what are often called the ‘economic' or ‘industrial' torts. However, a statutory immunity against a number of protected types of tortious liability may arise if certain conditions are satisfied.

When considering potential liability as a result of industrial action it is therefore necessary to consider:

  1. whether the industrial action or other conduct relating to it amounts to unlawful conduct at common law (see: Common law liability below)

Popular documents