Practical tips for avoiding industrial action

By Sarah Booth

An HR director in France was recently ‘taken hostage’ by employees during an industrial dispute. While this is an extreme example, employers wanting to avoid or manage industrial action would do well to consider the following points

Industrial action encompasses strikes, ‘work to rule’, overtime bans and ‘go-slows’. Employees who participate in industrial action will normally be breaching their contracts of employment. In backing industrial action, the union will be inducing the employees to breach their contracts of employment, which gives rise to liabilities for the union. However, the union will have immunity against any claims by the employer if the industrial action takes place in accordance with the law.

Challenging industrial action is complex and can be costly. The main mechanism for stopping industrial action is to apply to the High Court for an interim injunction against the union. However, it will only be possible to do so where unlawful industrial action is threatened…

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