College workers' planned strike not protected by ballot
A college has successfully obtained an injunction to prevent its employees carrying out a planned strike.
The employees and the college were in dispute over pay rates throughout 2013.
The trade union had balloted its members in December 2013 to gauge the level of support for a strike. The members voted in favour, and a one-day strike took place.
The dispute over pay throughout 2013 was never settled. Negotiations over pay rates for 2014 began in March 2014, without an agreement ever being reached.
The union planned another strike in October 2014, but the college moved to block it.
It successfully obtained an injunction to prevent employees from striking. The court held that the strike was not protected by ballot under the Tarde Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act.
This was because the ballot in December 2013 related to pay rates for that year. A new ballot would have to be taken in regard to the dispute over pay for 2014 in order for the strike to be protected by law.
Since the second ballot had not taken place, the college could block the strike.
Please contacts Robert Bedford if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any other aspect of employment law.