Collective bargaining, rectification of contracts and res judicata (Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive (t/a Nexus) v National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers) by Rebecca Thomas
Dispute Resolution analysis: The Court of Appeal held that the court has no power to order rectification of a collective agreement (between an employer and a union) within the meaning of Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULR(C)A 1992) and any claim should be brought in relation to individual employee contracts (between the employer and individual employees) that may incorporate the terms of the collective agreement.
The court also held that Nexus would be prevented from raising arguments about rectification at the remedy stage of a previous claim by employees for unlawful deduction from wages where the issue had not been raised at the liability hearing or subsequent appeals.
The court left open the question of whether issues of estoppel or abuse of process would bar Nexus from advancing the argument in future litigation. The judgment provides interesting analysis of the principles of rectification in relation to collective agreements and the powers of an employment tribunal to address rectification.
The case also demonstrates the complexities of the application of res judicata in cases involving multiple potential claimants and/or defendants.
Written by Rebecca Thomas.
Read the full analysis here.
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