The Statutory Recognition Procedure 1999: No Bias in Favour of Recognition?
Posted: 29 Jul 2009
Date Written: September 2008
The statutory recognition procedure contained in Schedule A1 to the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 came into force in June 2000 and was amended in 2004. In comparison to earlier legislation dealing with recognition, the new procedure was not designed to encourage the spread of collective bargaining. It was shaped, instead, by the Blair Government's wish to take an even-handed approach to the matter of trade union recognition, upholding the freedom of businesses to choose their own methods of communicating with workers, and intervening only where a majority of workers wished a union to be recognised. The result is a statutory recognition procedure which is curiously unbiased in favour of union recognition. According to a recent statement from the ILO's Committee of Experts, the procedure contravenes the ‘Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining’ as protected in Convention 98. In the Committee's opinion, the principle that only unions with the support of a majority of the relevant workers should be recognised is at odds with Convention 98. To bring the procedure into conformity with ILO standards would thus require a rethink of the central premise upon which it is constructed.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation