(also known as secondary action
, a secondary boycott
, or a sympathy strike
) is industrial action
by a trade union
in support of a strike initiated by workers in a separate corporation, but often the same enterprise
, group of companies, or connected firm.
In most countries, solidarity action is lawful
. In the US and UK, there are restrictions on strikes against anyone but a direct contractual employer. In the majority of OECD
countries, solidarity action is generally lawful, and the right to strike is seen as a part of broader political freedom.
The term "secondary action" is often used with the intention of distinguishing different types of trade dispute with a worker's direct contractual employer. Thus, a secondary action is a dispute with the employer's parent company, its suppliers, financiers, contracting parties, or any other employer in another industry.
Solidarity action remained legal until 1980, when the government of Margaret Thatcher passed the Employment Act 1980
to restrict it. That was followed by the Employment Act 1990
, which outlawed solidarity action entirely. The laws outlawing solidarity strikes remain to this day.
In 2005, union leaders called for the legalization of solidarity strikes in the aftermath of the strike action against the catering company Gate Gourmet
, but Labour ministers stated that they had no intention of repealing the law. British Airways
staff walked out in solidarity, however.
Because farm laborers in the United States are not covered by the Wagner Act
, the United Farm Workers
union has legally used solidarity boycotting of grocery store
chains to aid to its strikes against California agribusiness
and its primary boycotts of California grapes, lettuce and wine. Its secondary boycotts involved asking consumers to stop shopping at a grocery store chain until the chain stopped carrying the boycotted grapes, lettuce, or wine.
Secondary boycotting is frequently confused with secondary striking, also a prohibited tactic for labour unions covered by the Taft-Hartley Act
. Some legal definitions for secondary boycotting divide it into two different kinds: secondary consumer boycotts according to the above definition of secondary boycotts, and secondary employee boycotts, also defined as a secondary strike.
- ^ See H Collins, KD Ewing and A McColgan, Labour Law (2012) 693
- ^ Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth), sections 45D to 45DD.
M Kite and T Freinberg, 'Unions to Challenge Blair Over Ban on Secondary Strikes' (Daily Telegraph
, 27 August 2005).
Last edited on 26 April 2021, at 07:18
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