Labour Disputes and Court Injunctions


December 23, 2010

Will you need an injunction and what will an injunction do?

Many labour disputes occur where an injunction is not required. In many instances management and the union are able to reach acceptable picket protocol agreements.

However, where protocol can not be established an injunction might be required. In it’s simplest form, an injunction limits the length of delays and number of pickets.

Management must have evidence to support it’s request for an injunction. Key components are as follows:

  • Police are unable to assist
  • Police are unwilling to assist
  • Your firm is suffering harm as a result of the pickets

Keep in mind, injunctions name specific individuals.

You will need video evidence in addition to documented proof of actions and delays, as well as being able to identify those involved.

An injunction is not a silver bullet. The union and it’s members may choose to ignore it. The courts frown upon these actions however you may find yourself back in court seeking further restrictions.

The police typically take a neutral stance in job actions. It is critical the all contact and actions with the police are documented upon their arrival.

Management may need to consider civil action if an injunction does not prevent unreasonable delays.

We are often asked how long it will take to get an injunction. In some cases it has been a matter of days and in others it has taken months. It depends on how the union and members conduct themselves.

You can not get an injunction for being frustrated by delays. Average picket line delays can range from a couple minutes up to 20 minutes. The union will attempt to ensure it’s members create maximum impact with delays without being restricted by an injunction.

The volume of traffic will also play a part. If you have 500 vehicles crossing, a 15 minute delay per vehicle will cause significant delays and warrant consideration for an injunction.

Your key to success will be to have comprehensive security and a legal strategy. In order for this to occur both security and legal need a good understanding of how your business operates. This can be determined by ensuring a threat risk assessment is completed.

An injunction can be a powerful tool to maintain order and ensure you have the ability to continue during a work stoppage.
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