All quiet on the union deals front

Statutory union recognition has turned into a non-barking dog, with only
nine disputed claims since June.

The most controversial part of the Employment Relations Act has failed to
ignite, said Dominic Johnson, the CBI’s head of employee relations, at a
conference last month organised by employers’ Law and law firm Pinsent Curtis.
"The central arbitration committee must be rather bored, which I think is
a good thing," Johnson said.

Delegates heard that the CAC, which mediates in disputed recognition cases,
has considered only nine applications in four months. "Probably the reason
for it is the enormous number of voluntary agreements, probably into the
thousands," CAC chairman Michael Burton told delegates.

The DTI’s director of collective employment rights Jonathan Startup said,
"Ministers are not disappointed at the relatively small number of cases as
the aim was for people to explore the voluntary options before resorting to the

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