RMT has won a major court victory against injunctions preventing a strike on the Docklands Light Railway; and on the same day, ASLEF also won its appeal against an injunction banning strike action by its members working for London Midland.
The High Court granted the injunction to Serco Docklands in January 2011 after members voted by an overwhelming majority for strikes in a dispute around what RMT called 'a breakdown in industrial relations', including the sacking of two workmates and unilateral changes to working conditions. The Court of Appeal lifted the injunction, stating that in the context of international conventions that it is signed up to, the UK should recognise a legal right to strike, and that employers should not be able to use the law to set traps for unions over details of notifications. (Or words to that effect, anyway! Read the full decision here.)
It's an important win, and a major stumbling block in the path of the anti-union juggernaut which the employers had been driving through the courts ofr the last few years. But one swallow does not make a summer, and one pro-union judgment does not stop the courts being what they are: biased towards the bosses. Failing to get support from these particular judges, the employers will lick their wounds briefly, then come back to different courts asking for new anti-union rulings. In the meantime, we should make hay while the sun is briefly shining.