Labour Research April 2002

Features: Law matters

More protection for union activists

Trade union activists should have greater protection at work as a result of a recent ruling by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT). In a case taken by a member of the construction union UCATT, the EAT has held that only in the most extreme of cases should employees dismissed for trade union reasons ever have their compensation reduced to take account of their conduct.

General Contracting dismissed Ms Lindsay shortly after they found out that she had joined UCATT. The company claimed that their reasons were nothing to do with her union membership but had everything to do with Lindsay's poor timekeeping and attitude. The EAT did not believe this and upheld her claim of unfair dismissal.

It also held that even if her conduct was not totally satisfactory it did not justify any reduction in her compensation since it was only after she had joined the union that her employers decided to take her to task over that conduct.

* (Lindsay v General Contracting EAT/1126/00)