Trade Union Information

Collective Bargaining: Trade Union Recognition And Derecognition

The Employment Relations Act 1999 established a statutory procedure which enables a trade union to obtain recognition by the employer for collective bargaining purposes where the majority of the relevant workforce want this.  The 1999 Act also established a similar procedure regarding the derecognition of a trade union. Both procedures came into force on 6 June 2000.

The Employment Relations Act 2004 amended aspects of these statutory procedures.

A description of these statutory procedures is available on the web site of the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC), the body responsible for determining applications for recognition and derecognition.

The Secretary of State has provided guidance on aspects of the statutory procedures:

First, she specified a method of collective bargaining (as set out in The Trade Union Recognition (Method of Collective Bargaining) Order 2000) which the CAC must take into account when it uses its powers to impose on an employer and a union a legally binding method of conducting collective bargaining; and 

Second, she introduced a Code of Practice on Access to Workers During Recognition and Derecognition Ballots, which gives practical guidance on the reasonable access to the affected workforce which an employer must give the union during the period of such ballots.  In December 2004 the Secretary of State undertook consultations on a revised version of this Code of Practice to reflect changes introduced by the 2004 Act.  The Code of Practice on Access and Unfair Practices During Recognition and Derecognition Ballots, gained Parliamentary approval in July 2005, and came into affect on 1 October 2005.

Related Statutory Instruments

Recognition and Derecognition Ballots (Qualified Persons) Order 2000 - SI 2000/1306 as amended by
The Recognition and Derecognition Ballots (Qualified Persons) Order 2000 (Amendment) Order 2002
The Employment Tribunals Act 1996 (Application of Conciliation Provisions) Order 2000 - SI 2000/1337

Further Regulatory Guidance:

Trade union funds and accounting records - GuidanceTrade Union political funds: a guide for trade unions, their members and othersUnion membership: rights of members and non-membersPayment of union subscriptions through the check off