I've received lots of enquiries recently from readers asking if they can sue their trade unions for not representing their interests properly over the fight for equal pay.
Now this is perfectly possible, in principle least, but in order to do so successfully such an action would have to show two things:
- That the member suffered a financial loss
- That the financial loss was caused by negligence on the part of their union
Establishing negligence requires evidence to demonstrate that the actions (or inactions) of the trade union fell below the normal standards of competence and representation that could reasonably be expected at the time.
For example, I am currently trying to help a trade union member who submitted an equal pay claim via her local union branch.
Sadly, the local union branch allegedly lost or misplaced the member's claim which meant that it was never even registered with the Employment Tribunals.
So the member has engaged a (private) lawyer to pursue the case since the union has not, so far at least, conceded that the woman's evident financial loss was caused by negligence on the part of her trade union.
Action 4 Equality Scotland is currently investigating ways in which to help other trade union members facing similar issues or difficulties.
So watch this space for further details.