Planes, Trains And TULR(C)A

1 April 2010

Mrs Justice Sharp, a High Court judge, has granted an injunction blocking next week’s train strike. The judge granted an injunction applied for by Network Rail, which had questioned the legal validity of the ballot. The decision means that signallers will not be able to go on strike from 6am on Tuesday, April 6, to midnight on Friday, April 9.

Charles Bear QC said there were serious inaccuracies in the RMT ballot, in which 54 per cent of signallers polled backed the strike. NR accused the union of failing to comply with the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act of 1992

He was reported by the Telegraph to have told the court:

  • there were flaws in 143 of the 828 workplaces identified by the union, relating to between 14-17 of the total.
  • 23 signal boxes were left out of ballot, while votes were taken from 11 others which no longer existed.
  • 67 signal boxes there the ballot was extended to more people than employed at the time by Network Rail.
  • That the majority in favour of a strike was 224, while up to 245 votes were incorrect. It could not be argued that inaccuracies on such a scale were unlikely to affect the result.

Bob Crow, called the judgment an “attack on the whole trade union movement” which twisted anti-union laws “even further in favour of the bosses”.