As with BA corporations now turn to the courts to delegitimise strike action using the anti-union Trade Union and Labour Relations Act of 1992 brought in by the Conservatives and left on the books by New Labour, 30 years of neoliberal rule-
A high court judge today granted Network Rail a temporary injunction to block next week’s planned four-day rail strike by signal workers. Mrs Justice Sharp made the temporary order after being told that the planned walkout, called by the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, was unlawful because of the way a strike ballot was conducted. Network Rail argued that there were scores of inaccuracies and discrepancies in the vote by signal workers, who backed a walkout with a majority of 54%. It does not affect a separate dispute involving maintenance workers, who still plan to go ahead with strikes next week, although this is expected to cause only minor disruption. The strike was due start on Tuesday, the day Gordon Brown is expected to call a general election.
The TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, said: “It’s becoming increasingly easy for employers, unhappy at the prospect of a dispute, to rely on the courts to intervene and nullify a democratic ballot for industrial action on a mere technicality. Disputes between employers and unions should be settled by negotiation. Today’s decision in the court will simply drag the dispute out and make it more difficult to solve.”