Industrial action & collective labour law

Collective labour law is truly a niche area and genuine expertise can be difficult to find. With demand increasing dramatically in the present political climate, Littleton barristers are ideally placed to guide solicitors, and their employer or union clients, through this technical and high-profile area.

As would be expected given Littleton's excellent reputation for injunctive work, we pride ourselves on our ability to provide top quality pragmatic advice in the fast-moving and sensitive field of industrial disputes.

Key cases include: 

  • London Underground Ltd v ASLEF [2011] EWHC 7: industrial action injunctions and balloting.
  • BA v Unite [2010] EWCA Civ 413: at both High Court and Court of Appeal level. Principles for industrial action injunction. Balloting requirements.
  • Phillips v Xtera Communications [2011] IRLR 724: meaning of "election" in TULRCA
  • Milford Haven Port Authority v Unite [2010] EWCA Civ 400: Balloting and industrial action injunctions.
  • Gate Gourmet v TGWU [2005] IRLR 881: picketing.
  • University College Hospital v UNISON [1999] ICR 204: Meaning of "trade dispute" does not include political disputes.

In the recent past, there has been a significant increase in litigation concerned with industrial action, and chambers’ workload has increased accordingly.

Littleton also boast significant expertise in claims arising from collective consultation procedures in relation to collective redundancies, election of employee representatives  TUPE, ICE and TICE.

Key cases include:

  • UK Coal v NUM [2008] IRLR 4
  • Royal Mail v CWU [2009] IRLR 1046

Littleton is also well equipped to deal with matters with an international dimension including cases involving EU law, Article 11 ECHR and submissions to committees of the ILO.

Littleton members have broad experience of advising throughout the union recognition process, both to the CAC and also beyond.

Key cases include:

  • R v CAC ex parte Kwik Fit (GB) Limited [2002] ICR 1212 (CA)
  • R v CAC ex parte BBC [2003] IRLR 640

In addition, Littleton is frequently instructed in internal trade union issues, discipline and constitutional matters.

Littleton members have co-authored one of the leading textbooks in this field; "The Law of Industrial Action and Trade Union Recognition" (2011) OUP (Bowers, Reade and Duggan) with contribution from Katherine Apps and James Wynne and have published in this area in major academic journals.