An official of a recognised independent trade union has the right to reasonable time off, with pay, for industrial relations duties and training. These must be concerned with matters that are the subject of negotiation with the employer or with other functions that the employer has recognised as appropriate for the union.
For accredited learning representatives
Accredited learning representatives of a recognised, independent union are entitled to reasonable time off, with pay, to carry out their duties (analysing the need for training, advising members on learning, arranging training for members, consulting the employer, and associated preparation) and to ensure that they are adequately trained for these functions.
A member of a recognised independent union has the right to reasonable time off for union activities (not industrial action). There is no statutory right to pay for this time off.
An Acas Code of Practice, Time Off for Trade Union Duties and Activities, clarifies these rights. ‘Duties’ are defined and those items listed as ‘activities’ cannot be claimed as union duties that attract a mandatory payment.
A worker has the right not to be induced by the employer:
◉ not to be a member of an independent trade union
◉ not to take part in the activities of an independent trade union
◉ not to make use of a trade union’s services
◉ to be a member of a trade union or
◉ if he or she is a member of a recognised union (or one seeking recognition), to adopt terms of employment that will not be determined by a collective agreement negotiated by that union.
An employee (or worker) can complain to the employment tribunal that the employer has attempted such inducement. A successful complaint attracts an award of £4,193 (from April 2019).
A worker has the general right to apply to the employment tribunal claiming that an employer has taken action short of dismissal (such as withholding opportunities for transfer, training and promotion) against her or him as an individual:
◉ to prevent, deter or penalise the worker for membership of an independent trade union
◉ to prevent, deter or penalise the worker for participation in the activities of an independent trade union or for making use of its services at an appropriate time
◉ to compel the worker to join a union
◉ to penalise the worker for involvement in union recognition or derecognition
◉ because of the worker’s failure to accept an inducement (see above)
◉ because the worker features on a prohibited 'blacklist'.
The remedy is a complaint to the employment tribunal for a declaration and compensation (an amount that the tribunal considers just and equitable reparation for the loss).
The employer and/or worker can join a third party (person or trade union) who, they claim, induced the alleged victimisation by actual or threatened industrial action. The tribunal may order that third party to pay part or all of any award.
A trade union is an organisation of workers whose principal purposes include the regulation of relations between workers and their employers. The Government maintains a list of organisations that meet the requirements of a trade union.
It is unlawful to refuse to employ a person because they are a member (or are not a member) of a trade union, or because they refuse to join or leave a trade union.
An employee's membership of a trade union is different and separate from whether their employer recognises a trade union. A trade union that is recognised by an employer is one that is recognised by it as entitled to conduct collective bargaining on pay, hours and holidays for the workers in a bargaining unit.
In addition to collective bargaining, recognition of a union is relevant in collective redundancy situations and where there is a transfer of undertakings under TUPE as certain information needs to be given to union representatives, and in some cases they will be involved in any applicable consultation process.