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Richard Cook

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

The Baker McKenzie London Employment team is delighted to welcome you back to our Industrial Action webinar miniseries with our third and final episode. Episode three breaks down some of the key contingency planning considerations for companies that are experiencing a sustained spell of industrial action, including practices to help keep the business moving, legal risks that can occur during strike action, and steps you should take, such as a proactive communications strategy, to mitigate and avoid these risks.

The Baker McKenzie London Employment team is delighted to welcome you back to our Industrial Action webinar miniseries with episode two, where we explore what businesses should do when they receive a ballot notice and the potential legal challenges and pitfalls that often arise. The contents of the ballot notice, ballot paper and industrial action notice are often key areas of dispute when there are challenges to the industrial action process, and are key considerations when organizations are considering injunctive relief.

The Baker McKenzie London Employment team is delighted to share episode one of our new virtual miniseries, which focuses on the various challenges that organisations are likely to need to navigate when facing industrial action. A number of the factors and issues that are relevant to the current spate of trade disputes and industrial unrest – rising energy prices, the cost of living crisis, high rates of inflation – are not expected to disappear or resolve themselves overnight. As such, industrial action, or at least threats of industrial action, is expected to increase in prevalence across different industries and organisations over the coming months.

The Baker McKenzie London Employment team is delighted to welcome you back to our virtual mini-series, “Employment Rights: is 2022 the year of enforcement?”, with episode four, which is part two of our holiday pay focus during which we’ve explored key considerations for employers who are managing the thorny issue of holiday pay. This episode builds on that discussion with analysis of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in the Harpur Trust v Brazel case, which is likely to require many employers to change the way they calculate holiday pay for atypical workers such as casual, bank and zero hours staff (amongst others).

The government has announced that it is proposing to make changes to trade union law that will remove the current prohibition on businesses using temporary workers to cover staff taking part in industrial action. It has also announced that it plans to quadruple the maximum amount of damages that a court can award against a trade union for unlawful strike action from GBP 250,000 to GBP 1 million. These changes will need to be approved by Parliament.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal had upheld a decision of the employment tribunal that two companies within the same group had made unlawful inducements relating to collective bargaining under section 145B of the Trade Unions and Labour Relations (“Consolidation”) Act when it made direct offers of pay to its employees after it reached an impasse in negotiations with the recognised trade union. Although the tribunal’s decision pre-dated the Supreme Court’s decision in Kostal v. Dunkley, its findings were “presciently, so close in language to the test enunciated by the Supreme Court” that its conclusion was entirely consistent with the correct legal test as set out in Kostal.

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.