The Central Arbitration Committee has rejected a claim that outsourced workers employed at a university should be entitled to bargain collectively with the university as their "de facto" employer.

The facts

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain sought recognition in respect of workers employed by Cordant Security who were working at the University of London. The CAC rejected an application against Cordant because the company already recognised Unison for collective bargaining. The application against the University of London was also rejected because there was no contract between the University of London and the workers, and the definition of "worker" in the legislation requires such a contract.

What does this mean for employers?

This is a welcome but unsurprising decision by the CAC. In the CAC's view, to allow the application to proceed would "transform the statutory mechanism for collective bargaining" by giving two unions the right to bargain with two employers over the terms of the same group of workers. The CAC felt this would be a "recipe for chaotic workplace relationships”, and go against the CAC's statutory duty to promote "fair and efficient practices and arrangements in the workplace". This outcome may lead to unions lobbying the government as part of the worker status reforms considered following the Taylor review.

IWGB & Cordant Security and IWGB & University of London