Union recognition body cases fall short of plan

The Central Arbitration Committee spent a million pounds last year but only
granted seven statutory union recognition agreements, it was revealed in the
organisation’s annual report.

It also showed that the CAC received a total of 84 applications for union
recognition over the last 12 months, compared to the 150 applications, which
had been predicted.

The CAC was re-launched in June last year with 15 new members of staff to
process and adjudicate claims after the Government introduced new statutory
procedures under the Employment Relations Act 1999

Sir Michael Burton, chairman of the CAC, defended the low number of
applications for statutory union recognition that the independent body dealt

"It seems clear from the statistics, which show a large increase in
voluntary recognition deals, that many unions have been concentrating their own
resources in that direction and have tended to go to statutory recognition only
in cases where voluntary recognition was not possible.

"This may yet mean a surge in applications rather than the relatively
constant stream which we are now experiencing. Further, as indeed the
legislation envisages, a considerable number of cases have been overtaken or
abandoned in mid course in favour of voluntary agreements."

John Cridland, CBI deputy director general, believes the jury is still out
on whether statutory trade union recognition is a success. He said, "It is
early days and the legislation is still bedding down."

The TUC claims it shows the union recognition law was working well. John
Monks, TUC general secretary, said, "The CAC has got off to a good start
in this new role. The predictions that this new law would lead to industrial
disruption have been proved wrong."

By Ben Willmott


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