On 15 July 2015, the Government published a draft Trade Union Bill which sets out changes to tighten the law on industrial action.
What is the current position?
There is no general right to take industrial action under UK law. In most cases, employees taking industrial action will be acting unlawfully since by doing so, they will be acting in breach of their contracts of employment. A trade union calling for industrial action will therefore be inducing such breaches.
However, under current legislation, provided statutory conditions are met, employers are unable to sue trade unions for inducement and certain other torts, or to dismiss employees fairly for taking industrial action.
Much of the legislation regulating industrial action was introduced in the 1980s by the then -Conservative Government. The current provisions are now contained in the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (“TULRCA”). These provisions are complex.