News and Events

A very bad day for unions...

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[Thanks to John Bowers QC for telling this decision was imminent, and to Chris Quinn, who acted for the successful Appellants, for sending me a copy immediately upon it being handed down]

The Court of Appeal has, this morning, handed down its judgment in the very important - and controversial - case of Allen v GMB. The employment tribunal (bulletin 9/6/06) held that the GMB had indirectly discriminated against union members by recommending acceptance of a 'single status' pay deal which grossly underestimated the compensation which should be due to female equal pay Claimants. Although the objective of securing a fair single status pay deal was legitimate, the means used by the union to secure the deal (including grossly misleading the female back-pay claimants) meant that they had not pursued proportionate means of achieving that pay deal.

The EAT reversed the decision (bulletin 31/7/07), and found in favour of the union. The Court of Appeal has now restored the ET's decision - the judgment revolves around some highly techincal analysis of the differences between 'legitimate aims' and 'proportionate means'.

Permission to appeal to the House of Lords has been refused by the Court of Appeal, meaning that (subject to a Petition directly to the HofL) compensation will now fall to be assessed against the union. It is believed there are about 4,000 claims outstanding against the GMB and some 7,000 against UNISON.