Annual report by the CAC says applications for union recognition rose by 54% during 2011/12. One single claim involved more than 5,000 workers


The official trade union watchdog says the number of recognition claims has more than doubled in the last year.

(Pictured: Unite members campaign for recognition, GE Caledonian)

The annual report from the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) says it had received 43 applications for trade union recognition in the year ending 31 March 2012, a significant rise from the 28 applications received the previous year.

The statistics represent an increase of 54% on 2011 figures, when officials believe unions were taking particular care to ensure their applications for recognition were watertight.

The CAC says there were no successful de-recognition claims during the year.

However, chairman of the CAC, Sir Michael Burton, noted that this was a return to the level of applications for trade union recognition two years ago, when there were 42 applications.

He said: “The number of applications dealt with by the CAC showed a noticeable increase over the previous year.

“This was almost entirely due to a rise in the number of applications for statutory recognition from 28 to 43, thus returning to the level of two years ago.

“It would be presumptuous of me to identify this as a trend but it is noticeable that the range of employment groups covered by these applications has broadened, albeit incrementally, as the years have passed.”

(Graphic: CAC annual report, 2011/12)

The report notes a rise in the number of applications in the last year from unions representing members in the residential care homes sector and in companies providing contract services.

About two-thirds of the applications involved a bargaining unit of fewer than 100 workers, although in one case the recognition claim involved more than 5,000 workers.

The CAC says the manufacturing, transport and communication sectors represented 58% of the applications. In total, ten unions made applications for recognition.

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