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Immunity From Civil Action in Certain Cases

Key Points

  • A trade union can be liable for damages if it induces a person to break their employment contract by going on strike unless the act complained of was "in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute”.
  • Trade unions considering calling a strike must, in practice, be extremely careful to ensure that they only do so "in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute” – otherwise union funds will be at risk.
  • Even if the act complained of was in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute, the union will not be protected against being sued if it has failed to comply with certain preliminary requirements, such as conducting a proper ballot and giving notice, in accordance with the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (“TULRCA”), s.219(4).
  • There are statutory limits to the amount of damages which can be awarded against a trade union, depending on the number of members of the union.

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