We understand that whilst the relationship between an organisation and its trade unions can be business-critical, these relationships are often fragile. With this in mind, we work closely with clients to understand their relationship with their trade unions, their business needs, the contextual background and any sensitive issues, so that we can deliver tailored advice and solutions that work.

We are experienced in dealing with strikes and other industrial action (including applications for injunctions to prevent industrial action) and navigating the issues around section 145B.

We advise public and private sector employers on trade union recognition/ de-recognition, and collective bargaining negotiations. We also advise on works councils and employee forum agreements and constitutions. 

We advise our unionised clients on collective consultation requirements in relation to restructuring and redundancy exercises, programmes to change terms and conditions and TUPE transfers. We also regularly defend union-backed collective employment disputes.


Areas of focus

Our industrial relations lawyers specialise in the following:

  • Industrial relations and trade union issues.
  • Strikes and other industrial action (including injunctions)
  • Trade union recognition and de-recognition issues.
  • Collective agreements
  • Collective bargaining and section 145B.
  • Employee forum agreements and constitutions.
  • Establishment of Works Councils.
  • Information and collective consultation in change programmes and business transfers.
  • Collective employment disputes and failure to agree.

Advising a major defence sector employer on various collective disputes with their recognised trade unions and successfully averting industrial action.

Advising a train operating company in relation to threatened strike action leading to its withdrawal.

Advising a further education college in relation to threatened strike action by its lecturers.

Advising on strike action and obtaining an injunction to prevent a strike at a public establishment.

Providing employment advice to a UK passenger rail operator in relation to disciplinary action and consequential industrial action issues.

Providing employment advice to a client in the sports sector in relation to the re-negotiation of trade union collectively agreed terms and conditions of employment and associated redundancies.

Advising a provider of criminal justice and immigration security solutions on a dispute over employee terms and conditions with their recognised trade union.

Advising major transport, defence and security sector employers on formal applications for statutory recognition and the resulting CAC process.

Advising a major defence, security and aerospace organisation on the industrial relations implications of restructuring working patterns and providing training to senior management on trade union issues and engagement.

Advising a large private sector employer in relation to a proposal to close a section of its final salary pension scheme in a sensitive industrial relations context inclusive of the threat of proposed industrial action.

Advising a FTSE 250 company on its collective bargaining arrangements with its various trade unions.

Advising a FTSE 100 company on setting up a European Works Council.

Advising a US listed provider of corporate payment solutions on the industrial relations and employment aspects of a proposed acquisition across nine European jurisdictions.

Meet the team
Luke Bowery

Luke Bowery Partner

  • Employment
  • Restructuring and Redundancy
  • Equality, Diversity and Discrimination
Headshot of Chris Seaton

Chris Seaton Senior Partner

  • Senior Partner
  • Employment
  • Partnerships
Headshot of Adrian Martin

Adrian Martin Partner

  • Head of Employment
  • TUPE: Business Transfers and Outsourcing
  • Restructuring and Redundancy
Headshot of Katie Russell

Katie Russell Partner

  • Employment
  • Financial Services
  • Sport

Industrial Relations and Trade Unions

They are an extremely personable team. They enable us to feel secure.
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