It has been brought to our notice that the employees of AB have been approached by Unifi to participate in a strike, which will also involve picketing your firm’s premises in numbers large enough to prevent customers and employees from entering the premises for work or to conduct business.There are certain illegalities that may be highlighted in this situation which could form the basis for an action in tort by AB plc. The first aspect to be considered is that of balloting. The Trade Union Reform and Employment Rights Act of 1993 specifies that the “appropriate period” specified for balloting and securing of votes shall be from the day the scrutineer has appointed .1 Moreover such balloting and counting of votes is to be carried out by an independent person.2 Such independent scrutiny of the strike ballots does not appear to be in accordance with the required procedure in the case of Unifi activity. Moreover, the vote for the strike cannot strictly be deemed to be a majority since only 2000 out of 7500 members in total have supported a strike, therefore Unifi does not have sufficient ground to render a notice in reference to a strike of the employees at AB plc premises. TUPE regulations also require that election of representatives and balloting be carried out in such a manner as to allow employees sufficient time to cast their vote as was found in the case of Ashford School Anor vs Nixon and Ors2a.In reference to picketing, there is no “legal right” to picket. However, peaceful picketing has been allowed in law.3 But this does not include trespass or nuisance, neither will it include any mass effort at intimidation or restraining of employees or customers from entering AB plc premises. The proposal of Unifi to place employees in large numbers at AB premises may be illegal, as was laid out in the case of Gate Gourmet London Limited and Transport and General Workers Union.
Important Employment Law Issue