Statutory Trade Union Recognition

If you have more than 20 people working for your company, the new statutory procedure for the recognition of independent trade unions in businesses applies to you.

Compulsory trade union recognition came into force on 6 June 2000. From now on you will have to deal with the unions if your workers vote in favour.

There have been reports in the press of employers’ fears that the new law will discourage expansion. It certainly looks as if we are to be faced with another increase in bureaucracy, with an estimated two hours a day spent on preparing for and implementing it.

However, unless you decide to limit your workforce to 20 forever, you would be well advised to find out now what’s involved and be prepared in case your company is targeted by one of the unions seeking recognition.

Total resistance to involvement with the unions is likely to be counter-productive, since the law now enables trade union recognition to be imposed, even against an employer’s wishes. Some employers are already holding discussions with trade unions to build good relations and smooth the way for amicable negotiations leading to agreements which will be of benefit to both the business and the employees.

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