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What happens when a company is asked to recognise a trade union and they are reluctant to do so?

The Central Arbitration Committee oversees disputes regarding Union recognition and facilitates the resolution of conflicts that may arise during the recognition process. In my many years as an HR professional I have only had one referral to the CAC. A friend of mine, who is an employment lawyer is currently dealing with 2 applications received in the last few months.

The primary function of the CAC is to determine whether a Trade Union should be granted recognition by an employer for collective bargaining purposes. When a Trade Union seeks recognition from an employer, and both parties cannot reach an agreement, the matter is referred to the CAC. The CAC assesses factors such as the level of Union support among employees, the nature of the business, and whether there is already a recognised Union in place.

One of the CAC’s crucial responsibilities is to ensure that the recognition process is conducted fairly and transparently. It sets out the procedures that both parties must follow, including providing information, allowing access to employees, and giving adequate time for negotiation. The CAC also has the authority to conduct a ballot among employees to determine whether they support the Union’s recognition.

It also has the power to intervene if either party engages in unfair practices or breaches the established procedures. The CAC’s involvement helps maintain the integrity of the recognition process and promotes a balanced relationship between employers and Trade Unions.

Overall, the CAC serves as a neutral referee in Trade Union recognition in the UK. By ensuring fairness, transparency, and adherence to established procedures, the CAC contributes to the establishment of constructive industrial relations and a more equitable workplace for all parties involved.