Trade union liability for industrial action
Trade union liability for industrial action

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

  • Trade union liability for industrial action
  • Acts endorsed or authorised by a union
  • Financial limit on damages against a trade union

The organisation of industrial action by a trade union will usually give rise to some form of liability at common law. For example, calling workers to take strike action will probably amount to the industrial tort of inducing those workers to breach their contracts of employment (for further information, see Practice Note: The right to take industrial action—Common law liability).

In some circumstances, particularly where action is taken in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute, statutory immunity from an action in tort may arise (see Practice Note: The right to take industrial action—Statutory immunity from liability).

That immunity may, however, be lost in certain circumstances, such as where the industrial action in question amounts to secondary action, or is taken to enforce trade union membership or recognition (see Practice Note: Unlawful types of industrial action).

Immunity will also be lost if the union does not comply with the various requirements relating to ballots and notice of industrial action (see Prac

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