Employers using the new Central Arbitration Committee to contest union recognition disputes claim it is a major drain on senior managers’ time.
Companies have been put under pressure due to tight deadlines when preparing for hearings by the CAC, which mediates in union recognition disputes, according to David Yeandle of the Engineering Employers’ Federation.
Yeandle, who is EEF director of employment policy, has been involved in three of the 14 cases submitted to the CAC since June. The engineering companies the organisation has represented are Benteler Automotive UK, Bausch and Lomb and VIA Systems. Benteler Automotive’s application – a dispute with the Iron Steel and Trades Confederation – was accepted at a hearing last week.
Speaking after the hearing, Yeandle told Personnel Today that the CAC’s short timetable for processing applications will put senior HR staff under time pressures when preparing and giving evidence at the hearings. Firms have between two and three days to produce and give evidence, and the CAC is reluctant to grant extensions, he said. "Companies need to be aware that it is not going to be easy to drag this out. If they are involved in this complex process it is going to involve a lot of senior management time in preparing and giving evidence at tribunal hearings," he said.