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New Left Review I/24, March-April 1964


Ken Coates

The Right to Strike

In a manner which is typical of the way these things are done in Britain, the House of Lords has emasculated the right to strike. This outrageous statement may seem to be a wild echo of something in the Peking Review or a gem from yet another new anti-utopian novel. But in fact it is a pretty sober record of what actually happened on Tuesday, January 21st this year, when the law lords gave judgement in the case of Rookes versus Barnard and Others. Their lordships found that Rookes had been wronged as a result of intimidation by data, the Draughtsmen’s Union, and they ordered a new trial to assess the extent of his damages. In so doing they placed the right to strike in greater jeopardy than it has ever been since the Taff Vale Judgement at the beginning of the century.

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