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Appeal Judge overturns DLR injunction to prevent train drivers strike action

From: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23928916-strike-victory-for-rail-unions-commuters-face-more-walkouts-after-landmark-court-ruling.do


Strike victory for rail unions: Commuters face more walkouts after landmark court ruling

Dick Murray
4 Mar 2011

Commuters face a crippling wave of transport strikes after a landmark legal ruling today.

Appeal Court judges overturned an injunction that halted walkouts on the Docklands Light Railway.

In a second dramatic ruling, they overturned a decision preventing 600 train drivers from staging a strike on London Midland services to and from King's Cross.

Union bosses said the victory would stop strikes being blocked on legal "technicalities" and trigger a new series of disputes. They said the rulings paved the way for millions to strike over cuts to jobs and services in the months ahead.

Commuters have been hit by a series of strikes in London over jobs and pay in recent months and unions today warned of more to come.

RMT leader Bob Crow hailed the DLR judgment as a "landmark victory". He said: "It is not only a victory for staff on Serco Docklands and RMT's 80,000 members but it is also a massive victory for the seven million trade unionists in the UK."

"As well as threatening transport, the decision will make it easier for public service unions to hold strikes over spending cuts without them being halted by "the tiniest discrepancy."

Employers' legal teams have become increasingly adept at preventing industrial action through injunctions brought over technical breaches of the law governing strikes.

But today Lord Justice Elias, sitting with Lord Justice Mummery and Lord Justice Etherton, set a precedent when they said the RMT's appeal against the Serco Docklands must be allowed.

The decision overturned a ruling by High Court judge Mr Justice Tugendhat, who said that the strike action was invalid because the union had failed to include staff job titles on the ballot paper.

RMT members voted for a strike over the alleged failure of the management to consult workers over redundancies, a new pension plan, work timings and the dismissal of two workers. Less than 50 per cent of the 410 workforce voted but the RMT said of the 175 who did take part, 162 were in favour.

Serco must now pay the unions an estimated £100,000 costs because the injunction was wrongly granted against the union.

Keith Norman, Aslef's general secretary, said the London Midland decision was "a major step for industrial freedom."

TfL declined to comment.

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