Queen’s Bench Division
HELD: The evidence established that it had been known for a significant period of time that in deciding whether or not to accept a recommendation of the pay review board, affordability would be considered, and in the event that the award was deemed not affordable, that would be treated as an exceptional reason for departing from the recommendation. It followed that when the issue of affordability was taken into account in the decision to stage the pay award, J was acting in a manner that was consistent with the way it had said it would act. In those circumstances it was very difficult to see how J had acted in such a way that it should be deprived of an equitable remedy. There was simply no inequitable conduct on its part. Further, on any view, compensatory measures existed for the fact that the right to strike had been removed from prison officers. The measures were the very fact of the pay review board and the fact that it could make recommendations to J in respect of pay. P's complaint, therefore, was not that there were no compensatory measures but that they were insufficient, in that J could depart from the review board's findings if it considered it appropriate to do so. Even if the court proceeded on the basis that there had been a failure to provide sufficient compensatory measures, it did not follow that that failure amounted to such conduct in the context of the case that relief should be withheld. In any event, the court was far from satisfied that P had established that the compensatory measures were insufficient. Regard also had to be had to the consequences of a future strike. In those circumstances, there was a very strong public interest in providing a remedy to J to restrain a breach of contract by P. J had established its entitlement to the injunction that it sought, and P had advanced no reason for a contrary view save for its allegation of inequitable conduct, which was rejected.
Judgment for claimant.
(2008) IRLR 380
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