Recognising and derecognising a trade union
Statutory derecognition of a trade union owing to reduced size of workforce
You may seek to derecognise a trade union where you employ fewer than 21 workers - including workers with any associated employers - in any period of 13 weeks.
To do this, you must first send a notice to the union.
The notice must be copied to the Industrial Court and:
- identify the bargaining arrangements
- state the date on which the notice is given
- specify the period of 13 weeks in question
- state that you - taken with any associated employer(s) - employed an average of fewer than 21 workers in the specified 13-week period
- state that the bargaining arrangements are to cease to have effect on a specific date, which must fall after the end of a period of 35 working days, day one being the working day following that on which you give the notice
You must give the notice to the union before the end of the fifth working day, starting with the day after the last day of the specified period of 13 weeks.
The Industrial Court's decision on your notice of derecognition
When it receives your notice, the Chairman of the Industrial Court will appoint a panel of three Industrial Court members to consider whether or not it's valid.
The panel has ten working days, starting with the day after that on which the Industrial Court receives the notice, to reach a decision.
If the panel decides that your notice is not valid, it will tell you of this decision and your notice will be treated as if you had not given it. The bargaining arrangements would therefore remain in force.
If the panel decides that your notice is valid, it will tell you of this decision and the bargaining arrangements will then cease to have effect on the date specified in your notice.
The union's challenge to the validity of your notice
The union can challenge the Industrial Court's decision to accept your application for derecognition on the grounds that:
- The 13-week period specified in your notice ended before the relevant date. This is the date the three-year period, starting with the day of the Industrial Court declaration of recognition, expires.
- You - along with any associated employer(s) - did not employ an average of fewer than 21 workers in the 13-week period.
The union's application must be:
- in the proper form and supported by such documents as the Industrial Court may have specified
- copied to you, along with any supporting documents
- made within ten working days, starting with the day after that on which you gave your notice
The Industrial Court's decision on the union's application
The Industrial Court has ten working days - starting with the day after that on which the Industrial Court gave notice of acceptance of the union's application - to reach a decision.
Once you and the union have been given the opportunity to state your views, the Industrial Court will decide on the two issues of whether or not the 13-week period ended before the relevant date or whether you - along with any associated employers - did in fact employ fewer than 21 workers over the specified 13-week period.
If the Industrial Court decides that either the 13-week period ended before the relevant date or you - taken with any associated employers - employed 21 or more workers in that period, your notice shall be treated as not having been given.
If the Industrial Court decides that the 13-week period did not end before the relevant date and that you, taken with any associated employers, employed fewer than 21 workers in that period, the bargaining arrangements will cease to have effect on the 'termination date'.
The termination date will be the date that was specified in your notice to the union or the day after the last day of the Industrial Court's ten-day decision period, whichever is later.
Industrial Court028 9025 7599