Railworkers’ fight for strike rights is far from over despite their major legal victory last week, employment law experts said today.

Unions representing workers on London’s Docklands Light Railway were last week “over the moon” after a High Court ruled that strikes could not be stopped over minor technical errors in the ballot notice.

But union-backed think tank the Institute for Employment Rights said workers still faced a number of hurdles to industrial action. Its director Carolyn Jones agreed the win had been a great success for rail unions RMT and Aslef.

But Britain’s industrial relations legislation were still the most restrictive anti-union laws in the developed world, she said.”It’s not that there aren’t going to be any hurdles – the last hurdle hasn’t been put in place.

“In too many previous cases judges have sided with the employer and despite massive votes in support, action has been halted over balloting technicalities.”
Last week’s ruling overturned injunctions brought on grounds of minor human error in the balloting process.

But employers had also brought injunctions on grounds of insufficient details of striking members’ job descriptions or locations, balloting members who later took voluntary redundancy and not reporting spoiled voting papers, she said.

“The fundamental right of workers to withdraw their labour when in dispute with an employer should not be based on a legal technicality or the whim of a judge.”

The case made legal history with Lord Justice Patrick Elias’s reference in his judgement to a right to strike under the European Convention on Human Rights.