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RMT launches legal challenge
RMT launches challenge to UK anti-trade union laws in European Court of Human Rights (May 24, 2010)
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TRANSPORT union RMT has announced that it is launching an unprecedented challenge to the UKs anti-trade union laws in the European Court of Human Rights. Papers on behalf of RMT will be lodged with the European Court by the union and its solicitors. RMT will argue that its ability to organise industrial action to protect its members is restricted by UK law in a breach of Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

The union will be represented in the Court by RMTs standing counsel John Hendy QC and Marcus Pilgerstorfer, instructed by Thompsons Solicitors. The cases that RMT are challenging at European level are the EDF Energy court challenge and Hydrex dispute. These involved two groups of RMT members who balloted for industrial action last autumn.

The RMT is putting forward arguments about two restrictions imposed by UK legislation in respect of the EDF and Hydrex cases which it says are incompatible with Article 11 of the Euopean Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. They are as follows:

1. the statutory requirement for the union to serve on an employer a notice which must fulfill onerous conditions such as providing the identification of the specific job descriptions of the intended voters; and

2. the absolute prohibition on unions organising solidarity industrial action (even where the secondary employer is closely associated with the primary employer in dispute).
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