Complain about employer duties during a recognition ballot

How trade unions can complain about an employer to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) during a trade union recognition ballot.

Employer duties

An employer must co-operate generally with the union and Qualified Independent Person (QIP), the independent agency appointed by the CAC to run the ballot.

Employers have to give the union access to the workers in the bargaining unit. This lets the union inform the workers of the object of the ballot and to seek support and opinions. There is a Code of Practice (PDF, 229 KB, 33 pages) to help you and the employer reach agreement.

Employers must also:

  • give the CAC the names and addresses of workers who are entitled to vote - the CAC passes this information to the QIP and not the union
  • to make an offer to a worker that induces them not to attend a relevant meeting between the union and the workers
  • not take, or threaten to take, any action against a worker because they attended or showed that they intended to attend a union meeting

Make a complaint

As complaints need to be dealt with quickly, the union should write to the case manager giving full details of why they believe the employer has not complied with one or more of the duties. The letter can be sent to the case manager by email or to A complaint must be received by the CAC before the ballot takes place.

What happens next

The case manager will inform the panel and invite the employer to respond. The panel will consider your complaint and the employer’s response and decide what action to take. This may include:

  • asking for further information
  • suggesting ways in which any difficulties might be resolved
  • holding a hearing and making a formal decision

CAC decision

If the CAC makes a formal decision that the employer has not complied with one or more of their duties, it can order the employer to remedy the failure. If the employer does not comply with that, the CAC can issue a declaration of recognition.

Published 23 October 2014