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Industrial Action

Littleton Chambers has always been at the forefront of the development of the law on industrial action. Members have appeared in the injunction proceedings stemming from many of the major industrial disputes of recent times, including the miners’ strikes, the dock work deregulation strikes, various national and regional rail strikes, royal mail strikes, the BA cabin crew strikes, the Gate Gourmet strike, the threatened Olympic bus strikes and the public sector strikes related to government pay policy. Littleton barristers have advised and appeared for both employers and trade unions in these various disputes.

Littleton members are involved in advising and litigating at the cutting edge of this area of law. For example:

  • Leverage strategies. Trade unions now sometimes seek to avoid the need for strike ballots by using alternative strategies, such a demonstrating in the vicinity of the homes of directors, or the offices of customers, or bankers. Littleton members have been involved most of the few court hearings dealing with this
  • The impact of the Human Rights Act. Whether dealing with traditional strikes, or picketing, or with leverage strategies, Human Rights Act arguments are often of great importance. Several Littleton members are rightly regarded as leading experts in this area
  • Dispute resolution agreements. The Royal Mail agreement with the CWU which followed privitisation was ground-breaking. Littleton members advised on its terms. Other such agreements are likely to follow.

This is a niche area of practice. The relevant statutory provisions are complex, older cases are often revisited, especially in the light of human rights arguments and success in court (or by obtaining appropriate undertakings) is heavily dependent upon sensitive and speedy work by advocates who have frequently dealt with this kind of case. It is an area of practice where true expertise and experience are hard to find. Littleton barristers are ideally placed to guide solicitors and clients to a successful conclusion.


Collective Labour Law

Littleton’s expertise in the area of collective labour law is not confined to dealing with industrial disputes. Members are also expert in all aspects of this area, including:

  • S.145A & 145B disputes: Littleton members have been involved in all of the leading cases on these forbidden inducements
  • Trade union recognition and collective bargains: Littleton members frequently appear before the CAC and advise on the ambit of recognition and the formation, termination and scope of collective agreements
  • Consultation and Collective Agreement provisions of TUPE: Littleton members have appeared in leading case before the domestic courts and in the European Court
  • The internal regulation of trade unions and the rights of members: Littleton members advise trade unions and their members, in particular regarding internal disputes
  • Disciplining trade union members and lay officers: Littleton members have great experience in dealing with such sensitive matters and of seeking and resisting interim relief applications

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