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Supreme Court Decision Makes It Very Difficult For Employers To Obtain an Injunction To Restrain Industrial Action in the Future

posted 1 month ago

The Supreme Court judgements (of O’Donnell CJ, Hogan J and Murray J) in HA O’Neil Limited v. Unite the Union and others, which were handed down on 6th March 2024, make it extremely difficult for an employer to obtain an injunction restraining picketing and other industrial action going forward.

Facts: HA O’Neil Ltd (the “Plaintiff Company”) is a mechanical engineering firm engaged in the construction industry. Unite represents workers in the mechanical engineering industry, including employees of the Plaintiff Company. In February 2023, Unite balloted its members employed by the Plaintiff Company and another company in common ownership with the Plaintiff Company. The outcome of the ballot favoured taking industrial action in support of Unite’s stance on travel time payments. Unite wrote to the Plaintiff Company giving it ten days notice of industrial action due to take place. The first strike took place on 10th March 2023, further targeted action was to take place on a rolling basis on dates to be determined and on third party sites where the Plaintiff Company worked.

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