Meeting, serious expressions.

Securing recognition in a workplace

Much of the core work of a trade union involves working with employers. Although it’s not always possible, we like to build and maintain good relationships with employers: that is good for everyone concerned.

Securing recognition

Most successful working relationships between unions and employers depend upon a clear agreement.

This should include:

  • which unions the employer recognises;
  • categories of employees covered;
  • issues to be negotiated;
  • negotiation and consultation procedures;
  • the number of union and management seats on the negotiating committee and details of meetings;
  • time off and other facilities for representatives;
  • procedures for changing the agreement.

While most branches will already have recognition with their employer, the scope of recognition agreements varies widely.

A good recognition agreement is one that gives you the right to negotiate the full range of pay and conditions issues for all members in your workplace.

If UNISON does not have recognition with your employer, we will want to try to obtain it.

UNISON can provide a great deal of support and assistance and you should contact your branch or regional office to discuss how an approach should be made.

Without recognition, unions cannot operate effectively or give their members the services they require.

A voluntary recognition bid, following a recruitment drive, remains the most effective way of gaining recognition.

Statutory procedures are complex and have limitations. Such recognition was established by the 1999 Employment Rights Act.

Since then, the number of new recognition agreements has risen steadily.

It is becoming increasingly common for unions to have part-recognition for staff who have transferred employer under TUPE.

It is important in such circumstances that UNISON makes approaches to extend recognition to cover all employees.