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Trade unions: Expulsion purely for party-political activities will be lawful

This report relates to 1 case(s)

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    Lee v Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers & Firemen [2004] All ER (D) 209 (Mar) EAT (0 other reports)

Key Points

In Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen v Lee, the EAT holds:

  • In accordance with s.174 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, the union could lawfully exclude the complainant from membership if its reasons for doing so related only to his or her activities as a member of the BNP, and did not include the simple fact of his membership of that party.
  • An individual has a statutory right not to be excluded or expelled from trade union membership except on certain specified grounds. An exclusion or expulsion that is entirely attributable to the excluded or expelled person's conduct is lawful, but statute provides that, in this context, "conduct" does not include being a member of a political party.
  • When applying s.174, tribunals must differentiate between the simple fact of being a member of a political party, and a person's conduct beyond the fact of membership, including his or her activities in connection with membership.
  • In this case, the tribunal had erred in law by failing to address the central question of whether the complainant had been excluded from his trade union because of his membership of the BNP, or because of his activities and statements as an active member of that political party.