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Industrial Action Code of Practice and C of A decision [auto260600]

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1. Revised Code of Practice on Industrial Action Ballots and Notice to Employers
2. Reference to ECJ - Lawrence v Regent Office Care Ltd.


1. Revised Code of Practice on Industrial Action Ballots and Notice to Employers

The DTI has today issued the draft revised Code of Practice on Industrial Action Ballots and Notice to Employers.

Subject to parliamentary approval, it will take effect on 18th September 2000.

To obtain a copy (Word for Windows format, 68K), please reply to this message (ensuring 'auto260600' appears in the subject line).


2. Reference to ECJ - Lawrence v Regent Office Care Ltd.

The Court of Appeal has referred the above case to the ECJ in a decision dated 21st June 2000.

Facts: 447 applicants worked in the cleaning and catering services departments for North Yorkshire schools. Following compulsory competitive tendering of the services, the Council reduced the wages of female workers in order for its in-house company to remain competitive. The female workers took their Equal Pay Act claim to the House of Lords [1995] ICR 833, where they eventually succeeded.

Whilst that litigation was going on, a further competitive tendering exericse took place. The wages of female workers who were transferred under TUPE to a contracted-out organisation were either maintained (on a discriminatory basis) or reduced further.

Issue for the domestic courts: Could the female workers who continued to work for an undertaking contracted out by a local authority rely on male comparators who continued to be employed by the local authority (i.e. not the same, or an associated, employer)?

Questions Referred: The Court of Appeal referred the following two questions to the ECJ (subject to submissions from Counsel as to the precise wording to be used):
(1) Is Article 141 (prev. Art. 119) directly applicable in the circumstances of this that it can be relied upon by the applicants in national proceedings to enable them to compare their pay with that of men in the employment of the North Yorkshire County Council who are performing work of equal value to that done by the applicants?

(2) Can an applicant who seeks to place reliance on the direct effect of Article 141, do so only if the respondent employer is in a position where he is able to explain why the employer of the chosen comparator pays his employees as he does?