Can I be fired for strikes?

WORKERS strike in 2023 to fight for better working conditions and pay.

But can employers fire you if you attend one? Here’s everything you need to know.

Employees have the legal right to take industrial action as long as they follow protocols


Employees have the legal right to take industrial action as long as they follow protocols

Can I be fired for strikes?

Workers have the legal right to take industrial action and cannot be legally compelled to stay or go to work.

According to GOV.UK, you cannot be fired for industrial action if:

  • It is invoked as a result of a properly organized vote
  • It is about a labor dispute between employees and their employer (e.g. about your general terms and conditions).
  • The employer must be given detailed notice at least 7 days before the start of the labor dispute (which is required by law).

After 12 weeks, your employer could fire you if they made a legitimate attempt to resolve the situation.

You can be fired for taking part in an industrial dispute if:

  • The union did not hold a properly organized election
  • The union did not give the employer proper notification for electing members or taking action
  • The union has not asked its members to take action because they believe the dispute has been resolved or action is being called for by someone who does not have the authority to do so
  • It supports workers taking action against another employer (also known as “sympathy” or “second action”).
  • It supports exclusive employment for union members (aka ‘closed shop’).
  • It violates all other parts of the Industrial Dispute Act

If you take part in an illegal industrial action and are fired, you generally cannot claim wrongful termination if all the employees involved are also fired.

Why are employees on strike?

Workers can strike for a variety of reasons, from wage disputes to working conditions.

It is used as a bargaining tool so workers try to get a better deal.

Do you get paid during the strike?

If you take industrial action, you’re likely to be in breach of the contract, which means the employer doesn’t have to pay you.

In rare cases, the employer may take legal action against you for the violation.

How long do employees go on strike?

Workers have 12 weeks to strike.

During this period, workers are protected from dismissal as long as they have followed the correct instructions for properly organizing a strike.

Teachers, civil servants, train drivers, security guards, bus drivers and airport workers went on strike in February 2023 in the biggest day of industrial action in more than a decade. Can I be fired for strikes?


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