Trade Unions and the Law

Picket line

This is a one-day course aimed at experienced HR professionals who need to know moreabout working with trade unions. The course looks at the legal framework surrounding trade unions and collective bargaining and considers the legal obligations and risks that arise when there is a change in the identity or structure of the employer.

This is intended to be a highly participative, discussion-based course which considers the practical issues that arise in managing the union relationship alongside the legal framework. There will be plenty of time for questions and debate around the issues that are of particular concern to delegates.

Course outline

Welcome and Introduction

  • Identifying key issues for the day

The legal framework

  • Status of trade unions
  • Independence and recognition
  • The right to trade union membership

Recognition and collective bargaining

  • union recognition
  • Status of collective agreements
  • National and local agreements – what colour book do you use?
  • Incorporation into individual contracts
  • Can there be a contractual right to recognition?
  • The legal consequences of de-recognition

Managing the union relationship

  • Time off rights and facility time
  • Consultation v negotiation
  • Provision of information
  • Dealing with local, regional and national officials
  • Potential limits on facility time in the public sector

Rights of union members

  • Rights to be accompanied
  • Human rights and trade union law
  • Unlawful detriments and inducements – moving away from collective bargaining

 TUPE and trade unions

  • Information and consultation rights
  • The effect of a TUPE transfer on recognition
  • Collective bargaining post transfer
  • Changing terms and conditions derived from collective agreements

Collective consultation

  • When is the duty triggered?
  • How long must consultation last?
  • Consultation about what?
  • The cost of getting it wrong

Mapping the future

  • New structures and new relationships
  • Risks and opportunities
  • Charting a way forward

Final questions and feedback