• Recognition which is imposed upon an employer where a union can demonstrate a certain level of support and which brings with it enhanced rights for the union.
When did it come into force?
• The provisions came into force on
6 June 2000.
How does it work?
Step 1 Formal written request
The union submits a formal written request for recognition to the employer, specifying the desired bargaining unit. The employer has 10 days to respond to a formal written request.
The employer may simply agree to recognise - at which point the process ends. If not, proceed to Step 2.
Step 2 Negotiations
Given the employer is willing, the union must agree to negotiate for at least 20 days. Also, if the employer indicates it is willing to involve Acas, then the union must allow Acas to become involved. If the employer will not negotiate, go to Step 3.
Step 3 Application to CAC
If agreement still cannot be reached, the union may then apply to the CAC which will consider whether the union passes a number of initial hurdles:
• Does the employer have less than 21 employees?
• Does the employer already recognise another union in respect of the same group of workers, even if voluntarily?
• Has the union applied for mandatory recognition and been rejected within the past three years?
If the answer to any of the above is "Yes" then the CAC must reject the application.
If the answer to all is "No", proceed to step 4.
Step 4 Bargaining unit
If the parties cannot agree on the bargaining unit, after first seeking to broker an agreement, the CAC will determine what it should be taking into account from the following factors:
• The compatibility of the unit with the need for effective management.
• The views of the employer and the union.
• Any existing national or local bargaining arrangements.
• The desirability in general of avoiding small, fragmented bargaining units within an undertaking.
• The characteristics of the employees in the unit proposed by the union and any other employees thought to be relevant.
• The location of the employees.
Step 5 Automatic recognition
If at least 50 per cent of the employees in the bargaining unit are members of the union then the CAC will declare the union recognised without the need for a ballot, unless either:
• The CAC believes a ballot is in the interes