Using the law

In previous postings we have talked of the threat to check-off and the affect that could have on the union.

Besides putting pressure on the Labour Party and the Lib Dems on this and raising the issue amongst members and staff (in our experience, most non-members still want a union in place) etc, we should explore what legal action can be taken.

In CLG and DfT the right to check-off is explicitly part of staffs’ contract. Whilst this may not be the case in other departments (and we are critical of that fact; if the union leadership had heeded our arguments in the past, the right to check-off, amongst other things, would be in all staff contracts) there may be certain rights to check-off or ways to delay its ending. These should be looked into.

There may be under the Human Rights Act, which allows for freedom of association, ways to prevent the swift end of check-off. Then there is company law. Whilst we don’t suppose that this will prevent the ending of check off there may be arguments against its swift demise i.e. that PCS will be financially damaged by only having short notice of the end of check-off. Of course, PCS has form when using company law. It was an argument using this form of law that prevented Mark Serwotka from being ousted in coup by the right wing. So let’s look into it.

We have to explore all legal avenues. Of course, even if successful, a legal win or a win that delays the end of check-off still doesn’t disguise the fact that unions lack many positive rights. That is something that has to be taken up politically.

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