Legislation means a trade union has the right to be recognised where the majority of the workforce wants it. Recognition can be a voluntary agreement or can be imposed via a legal process:
Unite would always favour entering into a voluntary recognition agreement rather than using the statutory process, and the overwhelming majority of our recognition agreements have been agreed voluntarily.
There is no minimum number of members required to begin discussions with the management about union recognition. However, a typical situation would be that a group of staff will join the union and then the membership would begin to grow by those members encouraging more staff to join. Once a significant number of members have joined, the union will begin discussions with the management about recognition.
If 50 per cent plus one of a workforce in a company are members of the union we can automatically obtain recognition. However, if membership numbers fall short of this but a significant amount of the workforce is in the union then we can make a claim to a body called the CAC (Central Arbitration Committee). This body will then examine if we have enough membership and support for the workforce to be balloted on whether they want the union to be recognised.
The key to getting union recognition is getting your colleagues to join the union and support your efforts. If you want to further discuss union recognition and how to go about it we can put you in touch with one of our officers or organisers who specialise in this area.