Train strike derailed due to illegal late start

Industrial
action by more than 750 union members at South Central Trains has been called
off by the RMT union after it was found that the strike was called one minute
too late to be within the law.

British
strike laws dictate that the first industrial action in a dispute must be
called within 28 days of a ballot closing.

The
first action in the South Central dispute was called for 00:01 on 14 June by
the RMT – technically 28 days and one minute after the last day of voting in
the ballot.

RMT
members at South Central Trains voted to refuse to handle revenue for two
periods of 48 hours later this month in a dispute over the company’s use of
agency staff.

RMT
general secretary Bob Crow said: "It seems that a judge can declare our
industrial action illegal because it was set to begin on the last bong of
midnight rather than the first.

"These
laws were designed as a straightjacket to make it as difficult as possible for
workers to take industrial action,” he said. “To ensure that we do not fall
foul of potentially damaging legal action, the RMT executive has decided to
call off the action, and will reconsider the matter in the next 24 hours.”

By Michael Millar

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