The Central Arbitration Committee is planning to hear as many as 150 cases on compulsory trade union recognition in its first year.
CAC chairman Sir Michael Burton, giving his first public speech since his appointment, admitted the caseload would be unpredictable.
The Government is due to introduce the section on trade union recognition under the Employment Relations Act early next month.
Burton told the annual conference of the Employment Lawyers Association in London last week that the CAC will have 20 paid staff, including eight case managers. He said, “The committee will have nine deputy chairmen and 32 members – 16 employer representatives and 16 employee representatives.”
He stressed, “Our approach will be flexible and seeks to be problem-solving. We want find a voluntary agreement wherever possible.”
Although Burton said he saw no need for lawyers and hearings would be conducted informally, he said he would welcome the involvement of the legal profession. The most complex cases will be conducted like a court hearing.
Jane Mann, newly elected chairwoman of the Employment Lawyers Association, said, “I welcome that there will be a flexible problem-solving approach.”