The Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) received 64 applications for trade union recognition in the year ending 31 March 2008, according to its annual report.
This figure was unchanged on the number received the previous year. The majority of applications came from the manufacturing, transport and communication sectors. About half (53%) of these were for bargaining groups of less than 200 employees.
The CAC is an independent body whose main function is to adjudicate on applications relating to the recognition and derecognition of trade unions for collective bargaining purposes.
The CAC’s remit expanded with the introduction of the Information and Consultation Regulations. Its work in this area over the past year included seven new complaints under the regulations and four carried over from the previous year.
The regulations were extended to employers with 50 or more employees from 6 April, which could impact on the workload of the CAC over the coming year.
CAC chairman Michael Burton warned employers not to disregard requests from staff.
“If employees make a request for information and consultation arrangements, it is imprudent, and can be costly, for an employer to ignore it. It is unwise to hope the request will simply disappear,” he said.
Last year, Macmillan Publishers was fined £55,000 for failing to comply with the information and consultation regulations – the first penalty of its kind.