Technically, there is no such thing in British law as a right to strike. The right is not to suffer a detriment as a result of taking part in a strike, provided the strike has been properly called. So, contrary to anything Mr Clarkson of the jeans and jacket combo might say, provided that proper ballots are held and notices given, workers are perfectly entitled to withdraw their labour to further a dispute regarding terms or conditions of or affecting employment.
If a dispute arises, it’s important to meet with representatives of your employees as soon as possible in order to try to resolve the situation. The initial meeting should be to define the cause of the dispute, to clarify who speaks for which side and to explore what options are available to resolve the conflict.
For a dispute to be lawful it must be a ‘trade dispute’. This means it must be a dispute between workers and their own employer and it must be wholly concerned about employment related matters, e.g. pay, working conditions, jobs, discipline etc. A trade union is legally responsible for organising industrial action and it is only legal if the trade union authorises or endorses the action. Authorisation must take place before the industrial action starts. A strike ballot should not take place until any agreed procedures have been completed and all other means of resolving the dispute have been looked at. Employers can take legal action against any trade union which calls for strike action before a secret ballot has taken place. Continue reading