Information and Consultation Regulations
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Are your recognition agreements under threat? The new Information and Consultation (I&C) regulations give employers an excuse to question the union’s role as the voice of the workforce and to attack recognition. The regulations will be phased in. They will apply to organisations: with more than 150 employees from 6 April 2005 with more than 100 employees from 2007 and with more than 50 employees from 2008. The regulations may lead to staff councils being set up, undermining union recognition rights. A parallel staff council can mean virtual de-recognition.
Bargaining advice 1. Employers don’t have to make any changes unless 10% of employees request it. 2. If any proposals are made then involve the regional officer straight away. Staff councils often mean de-recognition, and will significantly change the way that union-management relations work. 3. Pre-empt the regulations by renegotiating your agreements to include information and consultation arrangements that cover all staff. This means you are better protected against discontented non-union workers using the regulations to undermine the union. 4. If a staff council is imposed, then try to get union reps elected to every seat. Employers often find it hard to fill seats on a staff council. 5. If UNISON isn’t strong enough to get recognition, you may be able to use the new rights to get an information and consultation staff council and use it as an organising tool.
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Use the ‘danger alert’ warning system below to check how safe agreements with your employers are. H = High alert.
M = Medium alert.
S A F E T Y 1.
L = Low alert.
C H E C K L I S T
How many people does your organisation employ? More than 150
Between 51 and 150
50 or less
2. Is information and consultation on the agenda? The employer has made proposals on I&C
Other organisations in the same sector are making proposals on information and consultation
The regulations are not being discussed
3. What recognition do you have with your employer? Recognition for some staff
Full union recognition for all staff
No union recognition
4. What agreement on information and consultation do you have?
Agreement covering some staff
Written agreement covering all staff
What is union density at your employer? Less than 30%
What state is the union organisation in? Few union reps
Parts of the organisation with no union representatives
Union reps in all areas
For further information and bargaining advice see UNISON’s factsheet, Information and Consultation, at www.unison.org.uk/acrobat/B1462.pdf or on the ‘Bargaining Conditions Zone’ www.unison.org.uk/bargaining/conditions.asp. Also see, the ACAS Good Practice Advice on www.acas.org.uk/info_consult/consultation.html It is important to share experience of which employers are using the information and consultation regulations and how they are using them. If you are involved with any employers about the regulations please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Designed by UNISON Communications Unit. Published and printed by UNISON, 1 Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9AJ. CU/March 2005/14703/stock number 2409/UNP number 8080.