In a last ditch attempt to prevent the planned strike of 30 November, there is news that a large public sector employer could be advised to seek an injunction preventing the walk out. The injunction would be lawful if it could be put that the reason for the strike was over politics as opposed to a simple trade dispute.
The strike is to take place over the proposed plans by the government to increase pension contributions made by employees. A partner at Clyde & Co, Stephen Blunt commented "I think an employer will come forward and do it, they are just waiting for the right timing - they will say: 'this is not being organised as a legitimate trade dispute, this is being organised as a political dispute against government policy' which is unlawful."
The strike is estimated to be as big as the 1926 general strike, with UNISON alone collecting 1.1 million workers. The number involved has highlighted the point that this does appear to be an organised movement. The number and the types of people involved is what could be used as factors to support the need for a review by the courts. Additionally, the types of language that has been exhibited by spokes persons of unions such as UNITE further seems to support the need for a review as these really do seem to be politically stimulated strikes.
Whilst some lawyers seem to be looking to this as an opportunity for the courts to clarify the law in this area, others are not so sure. Whilst there is undoubtedly, political influence here we cannot ignore the underlying issues shared between most of the industries involved. It is those underlying issues that appear to run in line with the strikes being a trade dispute as opposed to political.
On the whole, the action to seek an injunction and review the process does seem to be an aggressive one. Of it were to be considered, it is likely that it would have more relevance later on in the proceedings, with the government adopting more of a wait and see approach.
The government remains in talks with the TUC and it is believed by both parties that the way to solve this issue, as with all others, is through effective negotiation.