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Richard Cook

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Richard Cook is a Senior Associate in Baker McKenzie London office.

In an article published for ELA briefing, Jon Tuck and Richard Cook discuss the implications of the Court of Appeal’s decision in Mercer v Alternative Future Group, considering whether workers participating in protected industrial action are protected from action short of dismissal under the Trade Unions and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

The Court of Appeal has overturned the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s decision which had read down section 146 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULRCA) to give workers who participate in industrial action protection from action short of dismissal. The court confirmed that the protections in TULRCA, as drafted, do not extend to preventing employers from taking such action in response to striking employees. This means that a decision to potentially remove discretionary benefits from employees participating in industrial action would no longer give rise to a standalone claim under TULRCA.

The Baker McKenzie London Employment team is delighted to share with you episode one of our new virtual miniseries, “Employment Rights: is 2022 the year of enforcement?”, where we will be taking an in-depth look into the areas we believe there will be significant developments to the enforcement of UK employment rights in 2022 and beyond.

Following on from part one of our two-part virtual mini-series “Back in the office: The evolving debate on vaccine mandates, and other Covid-safe measures”, in part two, Stephen Ratcliffe and Richard Cook dissect two particularly thorny issues that employers are currently dealing with in relation to the return to the office: reluctant returners and tensions surrounding vaccinations and the wearing of masks.

A number of reports have cited the disproportionately negative effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the employment and earnings of women. There is a risk that the effects of the pandemic could further entrench preexisting inequalities, and that the economic impact of the pandemic on businesses could push pay equality down the agenda. Instead, we see the return to “normality” as the perfect opportunity to take stock and identify where inequality can be tackled.