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Reviewing the Statutory Union Recognition (ERA 1999)


  • Sian Moore
  • Stephen Wood


In 2000 the UK government introduced, under the Employment Relations Act of 1999, a new statutory union recognition procedure, while in 2003 it published a consultation document on its Review of the Act. The document concluded that th eunion procedure was broadly working and confirmed that the government would not be changing the procedure's basic features, but outlined some changes that it was proposing and issues on which it sought opinions. This paper assesses, on the basis of the authors' research, whether the procedure is indeed achieving the government's consultative document. The latter was submitted as the authors' response to the review. The authors concur with the document¿s overall judgement that in the first three years of its operation, the procedure is working effectively. It is providing a right to union recognition where the majority of workers want it, encouraging the voluntary resolution of recognition disputes and being used as a last resort, whilst no judicial reviews have, as yet, undermined its operation as happened with the last statutory procedure in the 1990s. Nonetheless there are problems particularly relating to the ability of employers to influence both how the CAC uses its discretion and workers exercise their rights with respect to union recognition, whilst the applications are in the procedure and during recognition ballots. On the basis of this, the author¿s response to the consultative document gauges that many of its arguments for making only limited changes in the procedure¿s fundamentals are sound, as are those where change is envisaged. However, in certain areas more consideration should be given to change, and particularly of ways of limiting the actions of employers that the document concedes might be deemed ¿unfair labour practices¿.

Suggested Citation

  • Sian Moore & Stephen Wood, 2003. "Reviewing the Statutory Union Recognition (ERA 1999)," CEP Discussion Papers dp0583, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0583

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    trade unions; collective bargaining;

    JEL classification:

    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining

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