Birmingham City Council v UNITE the Union & Anor [2019] EWHC 478 (QB)

Application by Birmingham City Council for an injunction to restrain two trade unions, Unite and UNISON who represent members employed by BCC from calling industrial action and strike action amongst their members at various depots in the Birmingham area. Application refused.

Employees at BCC belonged to one of three unions (or none at all): Unite, UNISON or GMB. The first two were threatening strike action. In 2018, GMB members were given payments in the region of £3,500 to £4,000, which, BCC alleged, were in full and final settlement of any potential claims that BCC were in breach of s.188 of TULRCA for failure to consult over proposals to make employees redundant. However, Unite argued that BCC was not in breach of s.188 of TULRCA because BCC was not under a duty to consult unions as it was not proposing or contemplating dismissals. The unions argued that the payments were, in fact, a reward to GMB members for being members of a more compliant union and/or for not wanting to take or taking industrial action. When their claims for additional payments for Unite and UNISON members were rejected, action short of strike action commenced. BCC applied for an injunction to prevent the action.

The court dismissed the application. It was more likely than not that the unions would succeed at the trial of the action in establishing that the protection in s.219 of TULRCA will apply.

Published: 20/03/2019 16:01

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