Supreme Court unanimously upholds Unite’s right to strike

Supreme Court unanimously upholds Unite’s right to strike

Unite reaction to historic court judgement

‘Historic’ judgement rejects employers’ injunction

In a ‘landmark ruling’, the Supreme Court has today found that Unite was fully legally entitled to undertake strike action in a dispute with construction company Jones Engineering. 

The strike action, which involved hundreds of mechanical workers employed by Jones Engineering, shut down construction work on Intel and Pfizer projects last year, in a dispute relating to travel time payments. Jones Engineering were initially successful in an application for an injunction, which placed extensive procedural hoops on Unite before it was able to commence industrial action. 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is a fantastic result and a historic win for all workers that will have far reaching consequences. This victory for Unite sends a powerful message to all employers that they can’t trample on a worker’s right to strike.  I am proud of our reps who faced enormous pressure by being named in the High and Supreme Court proceedings. This win vindicates them and underlines Unite’s commitment to do whatever it takes to defend our members.”

The Supreme Court unanimously found that Unite had fulfilled its obligations under the 1990 Industrial Relations Act and was entitled to the protections of the Act in carrying out industrial action. 

Tom Fitzgerald, Unite regional coordinating officer said, “The Supreme Court was unanimous and emphatic in stating that Unite was entitled to the protections of the 1990 Industrial Relations Act and that the injunction should not have been granted. “Unite will now sit down with our legal team to understand the ramifications of the decision, but this now clearly ends any ambiguity around the right to strike once unions ensure they comply with their obligations under the Act.

More from yesterday’s Supreme Court Ruling:
The chief justice noted that the freedom to form associations and unions is guaranteed by Article 40.6.1 of the Constitution and the entitlement to take part in industrial action must be seen in that context.
An important aspect of any right is the choice of when and where to exercise it, he added.
In his concurring decision Mr Justice Hogan said that the 1990 Act gives the Oireachtas the right to regulate trade union activity under Article 40.6.1 of the Constitution.
The courts he said “should not readily circumvent or frustrate this right.”
He added that the right to take industrial action must be safeguarded, so that the constitutional right to associate and form a trade union is given real meaning.
Insufficient weight has been given to this consideration in the case
law to date, the judge said.
In Summary:
The Supreme Court recognises the right to strike and the right for unions to decide when and where to go on strike.
Courts must not readily circumvent these rights quite the opposite they should protect them.
Courts have failed to do this in the past.
This reafirms the Right to Strike when and where unions decide.
May be a graphic of text that says 'FORUM UNION RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS'