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Trade unions: 'Lacuna' in recognition provisions

This report relates to 1 case(s)

  • expand disabled

    R (on the application of National Union of Journalists) v Central Arbitration Committee and MGN Ltd [2005] IRLR 28 HC (0 other reports)

Key points

In R (on the application of the National Union of Journalists) v Central Arbitration Committee and MGN Ltd, the High Court holds:

  • The correct interpretation of para. 35(1) of Schedule A1 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULR(C)A) is that the CAC has no power to deal with an application by a union for recognition if another union has already been voluntarily recognised first by the employer.
  • Section 178 of the TULR(C)A and Schedule A1 contain nothing that requires the consent of the employees, or a majority of employees, for a particular union to be recognised to bargain collectively on their behalf in such a situation.
  • The UK legislation does not breach article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Even if a union is not recognised for collective bargaining purposes, its members still have the right to take industrial action or join a different union.
  • The effect of the legislation is that a trade union with a substantial number of members in a particular bargaining unit may be shut out from collective bargaining by a prior voluntary agreement entered into between the employer and another union with a very limited membership.