Recognition act is final stage of sweeping legal changes

Statutory Trade Union Recognition is the final part of the 1999 Employment Relations Act.

Almost all other rights introduced under the law, including parental leave, the part-time work regulations and the new £50,000 limit for unfair dismissal have been phased in since September last year.

It gives unions automatic recognition if 50 per cent of the workforce are members or if 40 per cent vote for the union to be recognised in a ballot. The union becomes the recognised bargaining body on hours, pay and holiday. Employers will also have to inform it about training.

The new legislation allows unions to approach the employer and ask to be recognised.

The employer will have 10 days to respond. If it fails to do so the union can go straight to the CAC.

The employer can agree to the request and start negotiations with the union on a deal or it can refuse. If it says yes, an agreement has to be reached within 20 days. If it says no the union can go to the CAC.

The union will only be recognised if it can show it is what staff want. If you already communicate effectively with your staff and your staff are not unionised there is no reason why you will have to recognise a union.

www.cac.gov.uk

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