IER Briefing: ASLEF v UK

Submitted by carolyn on Fri, 29/06/2007 - 13:59

On 27th February 2007 the European Court of Human Rights found in favour of ASLEF in a case that could have profound and positive implications for trade unions.

The DTI has now agreed that UK laws need amending to reflect the decision of the Court and to bring UK legislation in line with international standards. A DTI Consultation Paper was therefore published on 16th May offering suggestions on how the UK’s domestic law should be amended. Responses to that Consultation Document are due by 8th August 2007.

Institute of Employment Rights’ Briefing Paper

In an attempt to assist and inform the consultation process, the Institute produced a Briefing Paper The Briefing was produced by the barristers from Old Square Chambers involved in the case – John Hendy, QC and Michael Ford. Their conclusion is that the two suggestions put forward in the DTI paper fail to reflect the full implications of the judicial decision and that more substantial amendments are required. The authors go on to list suggested further reforms on pages 10 – 13 of the Briefing.

For further background materials you may also want to consult an earlier 2004 IER submission to the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR). In that submission John Hendy and Keith Ewing argued that UK laws needed to be updated to allow unions to determine their own rulebooks, prevent BNP infiltration and bring UK laws in line with international obligations

Unfortunately, although changes to the law were made in 2004, the changes failed to adequately protect and reflect internatioal sandards. It is hoped that the Government will now take the opportunity provided by the ASLEF case to suitably amend the law, provide appropriate trade union freedoms and thereby prevent future time consuming and costly legal challenges to UK laws.

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