Case Report – Secondary industrial action

Wednesday 20th August 2014

In RMT v UK, the European Court of Human Rights has held that there was no breach of Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights by UK law restricting secondary industrial action. As you all know, Article 11 guarantees the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association with others.

The ECHR noted that “it cannot be said that the ban on secondary industrial action struck at the very substance of the [RMT’s] freedom of association” and that “a fair balance was struck” by the UK law. The facts did not “disclose an unjustified interference with the [RMT’s] right to freedom of association, the essential elements of which the [RMT] was able to exercise, in representing its members, in negotiating with the employer on behalf of its members who were in dispute with the employer and in organising a strike of those members at their place of work.”