By B. J. McCormick (auth.)

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Additional resources for Industrial Relations in the Coal Industry

Sample text

Before the 1871 Trade Union Act trade unions were illegal and therefore members could not bring actions to enforce rights against their officials. After the Act unions were legalised, but Section 4 of the Act stated that: 'Nothing in this Act shall enable any Court to entertain any legal proceedings instituted with the object of directly enforcing or recovering damages for the breach of any of the following agreements'. The agreements set out in sub-sections referred to the use of funds. Howden wanted an injunction to prevent the officials from giving strike pay because it was in contravention of the Union's rule requiring a two-thirds majority decision.

An obstinate employer, who was also suspected of financing a workman to bring an action against his union, was prepared to take up the precedent, and the union was frightened by the precedent. Had the union decided to continue financing the strike, the dispute would have continued. But it did not. When the Denaby case was referred to in the Heatons case there was a parallel. In the 1960s employers had asked for the means to punish unions, and for the balance of power to be restored. The 1971 Industrial Relations Act was passed to restore the balance but it was never intended that the Act was to be invoked, since it was hoped that unions would be able to control their shop stewards, and the Act was merely to be symbolic.

He understood that the men had been at work for some weeks, they had made good the lost output and he believed the country needed coal. There might be an outcry if men were sent to prison for not paying the fines, when the original sentences of imprisonment on the leaders had been remitted. He asked for guidance. 8. The company also wanted to avoid further trouble. They asked if they could pay the fines on behalf of the men; the cost to them would be so much less profits tax! They were told on no account to do this.

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