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An Absence of Fairness... Restrictions on Industrial Action and Protest in the Trade Union Bill 2015

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)522-550
Number of pages29
JournalIndustrial Law Journal
Issue number4
DatePublished - Dec 2015


In July 2015, a Trade Union Bill was introduced by the incoming Conservative
Government which seeks to place significant restrictions on UK trade union activity, probably in anticipation of deep budgetary cuts affecting the public sector which are likely to generate protest. The assertion has been made that this legislative proposal is fair and balanced. We contest that claim with reference to the likely effect of the measures on industrial action, pickets and protests. The consultative process was incomplete and the substantive provisions unfairly target union-organised strikes and protests. The proposals are open to challenge on grounds of insufficient justification, impracticability of compliance and violation of fundamental civil liberties. They entail probable breach of UK obligations in respect of International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards and rights arising under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and European Social Charter (ESC). By further restricting the scope of lawful industrial action and pickets, the proposed legislation risks provoking other kinds of protest.

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First published online: October 28, 2015

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    Rights statement: © Industrial Law Society; all rights reserved. This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in [Industrial Law Journal] following peer review. The version of record [Ind Law J (2015) 44 (4): 522-550] is available online at: 10.1093/indlaw/dwv029 [].

    Accepted author manuscript, 369 KB, PDF document


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