Overtime ban may bring court action

A grey area of strike law is set to be tested in the courts.

London-based train operator Connex is considering legal action to try to
break an informal overtime ban by staff which its union, Aslef, claims does not
constitute industrial action.

Drivers re-started a work-to-rule on 4 January, after a temporary injunction
ended, causing 387 services to be cancelled. Aslef has pledged to continue
until a row over hours is resolved.

A Connex spokesman said, "This is illegal action. We have used the courts
before and we are not ruling it out again if it is not put to an end."

Aslef spokesman John Richards said drivers are not obliged to work extra
hours. "They merely have to give seven days’ notice before rosters are
published. All we have done is advise them not to do the shifts," he said.

An expert in employment law at Pinsent Curtis said illegal action can
include "non-participation in non-contractual duties" but it would be
up to a court to decide.

The overtime and rest day working ban started on 19 December, but Connex
gained an injunction from the High Court on 23 December to force drivers to
work agreed rotas over Christmas and New Year. The injunction ended on 3
January.

Aslef wants the working week cut from 37 to 35 hours, as well as improved pension
arrangements.

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