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Employment Relations Act 2004

Unfair practice in relation to derecognition ballots

98.Section 13 inserts paragraphs 119A to 119I into Schedule A1, which concern unfair practices during recognition ballots. In particular, the provisions:

  • create a duty on the parties to refrain from unfair practices;

  • set out how complaints of unfair practices are to be handled; and

  • provide for the consequences of a decision by the CAC that a complaint of unfair practice is well-founded in respect of a ballot on derecognition of a union held in accordance with paragraph 117 of the Schedule.

99.Section 13 closely resembles section 10 applying the same or very similar provisions for defining unfair practices, and the consequences for a party which commits them, to the setting of a derecognition ballot. New paragraphs 119G to 119I contain distinctive additional provisions which apply to the case where a worker has made an application to derecognise the union and the CAC arranges a ballot. Additional provisions are needed because there are three parties (the worker, the union and the employer) which could commit an unfair practice in such ballots, in contrast to just two parties (the union and the employer) in recognition ballots and derecognition ballots on an application by an employer. New paragraph 119G has the effect of dis-applying the remedies provided in paragraph 119D from these cases, whilst applying the other provisions covering unfair practices which are set out in new paragraphs 119A to 119C and 119E to 119F.

100.Paragraph 119H provides for particular remedies, in certain situations, which might arise where a ballot is held in relation to an application under paragraph 112. It provides for the CAC to declare that the union is derecognised where it fails to comply with a remedial order to mitigate the effect of an unfair practice. It similarly provides for the union to be derecognised where the unfair practice involves the use of violence or the dismissal of a union official or where the CAC declares that the union has committed a second unfair practice. In corresponding situations where the applicant worker is found to have committed one or more unfair practices, been guilty of an unfair practice which included the use of violence or the dismissal of a union official, or failed to comply with a remedial order, the CAC is empowered to declare that the worker’s application to derecognise the union is rejected. Where the employer has committed one or more unfair practices, used violence or dismissed a union official or failed to comply with a remedial order, the CAC may order that the employer should cease all further campaigning activity in relation to the ballot. Paragraph 119I specifies that such orders (in addition to the remedial orders requiring the employer to mitigate an unfair practice) can be enforced through the courts by the union or the applicant worker in the same way as orders of the county court (in England and Wales) or orders of the sheriff (in Scotland). Paragraph 119I also establishes the same enforcement mechanism in relation to any orders under paragraph 119 which the CAC may issue to an employer to remedy a failure by the employer to fulfil the three duties set out in paragraph 118 to assist with the running of the ballot.

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