The Central Arbitration Committee has ruled that an independent union’s application for statutory recognition cannot be thwarted by the existence of a collective agreement with another union covering members of the relevant bargaining unit, unless that agreement covers collective bargaining rights for pay, hours and holidays.

In PDAU v Boots Management Services  the employer had an existing agreement with another union but this only covered facilities for union officials and the machinery for negotiation or consultation.  This satisfied the plain wording of “collective agreement” under the relevant statute, but the CAC ruled that this must be construed differently in order to comply with  Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.  Words should be read in so that an application for statutory recognition can only be thwarted if another union has collective bargaining rights in respect of pay, hours and holidays.