[Thanks to Sarah Russell, solicitor at Russell, Jones and Walker, part of Slater & Gordon Lawyers, for preparing this case summary]
Could a group of pilots, the majority of whom were based outside the UK, still use the statutory system of trade union recognition?
Yes, said the High Court in Netjets v CAC.
The Claimant operates business jets. The proposed bargaining unit was all of their pilots. They were employed by a British company, on contracts subject to English law and the English courts. They lived across Europe and were paid in their local currencies. HR issues were managed from Lisbon.
Netjets argued that there were no workers in the bargaining unit, as they were outside the jurisdiction of the collective bargaining provisions in Schedule A1 TULRCA 1992.
The CAC proceeded by analogy to the test in Ravat v Halliburton Manufacturing and Services Ltd; whether as a question of fact the connection between the circumstances of the employment and Great Britain, and with British employment law was 'sufficiently strong' that it would be appropriate for the employee to have a claim for unfair dismissal in Britain.
Mr Justice Supperstone upheld the decision, recognising that in practice, if the members could not bargain collectively in Great Britain, they would be unable to exercise their Article 11 rights.