• Robert Spicer

Employment contract: trade union membership

EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT

Trade union membership

Case Oni v Unison Trade Union [2018] ICR 1111, EAT

Facts O was a nurse employed by a hospital trust and a member of Unison. From 2009 until 2011 she lodged complaints of discrimination and unfair dismissal against her employer and against the union. The complaints were dismissed. In 2016 she lodged further complaints against the union which alleged that it had breached her contract of membership in the handling of her claims against the trust. The ET struck out the claim on the basis that it had no jurisdiction because a breach of contract claim could only be made against an employer; and no ACAS early conciliation certificate had been obtained. O appealed to the EAT. She argued that her contract of membership with Unison amounted to a contract connected with employment.

Decision 1. The appeal was dismissed.

  1. Breach of contract claims in the ET were confined to claims by an employee against an employer.

3. Correspondence between ACAS and Unison in 2011 and 2012, relied upon by O, pre-dated the early conciliation regime and did not arise in the context of the union as a prospective respondent to relevant proceedings.

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