There are many rights that the unions get for themselves, after recognition, they are required to be consulted by the management over some issues. It is not only up to those employers who have recognized the union in their company to consult with the members before implementing things. It is something that all employers must look to do. Hence you will see that consultation by law will take lots of forms.
By the term consultation, it is implied that talks would be taking place in a formal manner with the different representatives of the employees, so that an agreement is reached. The employers actually do not have any kind of obligation to enter into negotiations or even seal any deal. However honest attempts are expected to be made.
If an employer decides that 20 more of his employees would be made redundant, consultations are of course required to be made. After a union gets recognized, the consultations would be taking place with the employees. In companies where no unions are present, the consultations are required to be made with the relevant members of the workforce.
The primary aim of these consultations is to find some ways by which the redundancies can be avoided at all costs. The consultations, can be taking place regarding the selection procedure employed as well as the manner in which the calculation of the redundancy payment would be made.
Transfer of undertakings
The regulations that looked after the redundancies also cover the transfer of the undertakings. In these situations, one company hands over the responsibility of its offices to another. Consultation is required on the behalf of both the companies involved in the transfer process. The members of the representative committee for the employees have a duty to consult these people. The representatives have to know why the transfer took place and what affect it would have in the long term.
Health and safety
The different employers have a duty to consult with the different representatives of the workers regarding matters of health as well as safety. The representatives have to be members of the trade unions. In different organizations, the employers usually go into consultation with the people of the workforce.
Sometimes even committees for health and safety of employees are formed. In other types of organizations, the employers can be consulting with people of the workforce in a direct manner. There are specific things to consult about, if any new measure is getting introduced for the well-being of the workers.
The unions are required to be contacted when employers wish that pensions would no longer be given in accordance to the pension scheme related to the State. The have the full right for receiving info regarding the pension schemes being used by the company as well as different details regarding the accounts.
European Works Councils
From 2001 onwards, councils are required to be set up in different undertakings involving the community. These are the organizations, which would be employing more than 1000 people in the European Union alone.
These cannot be treated as instruments for withholding the feeling of democracy in the industries. They do not work in tandem with the company management in making of employment policy as has been the case in Germany over the years. The biggest requirements have been listed here:
- The councils should be having a maximum of 30 members and a minimum of 3.
- These people will be elected by members of the workforce only.
- The different meetings of the council will take place every year and in these meetings, the management of the company would be providing with reports regarding the progress of the company as well as the current financial condition and what the future plans are when it comes to sales, investment as well as the fate of the employees.
- Some special meetings of the council can take place under really extra ordinary circumstances. These can happen on course of mass redundancy or when a company’s office is being relocated.
- The council has to be always informed about the things which might have a major effect on the fate of the concerned employees.
- The different matters which are important for the whole community will be discussed in these meetings. The affairs which affect only one European country are not required to be discussed.
Two recent laws which have their origin in the European Union, give the employers an opportunity to understand how they would be applied locally. In such cases, the basic rights are put forward along with schemes which contain different rules and information regarding the application of the law.
The employers however have the permission to make their own rules and then replace the default scheme given by the government. These things are however required to be agreed upon via an agreement in the workplace. In places where unions are recognized this can be achieved using machinery of bargaining. If this does not bear fruit, then the employer is required to get the agreement of the employees and then arrange for people to be elected to a forum.
The Information and Consultation Directive
In the March of 2002, a directive provided by the EU, extended the right to information as well as consultation. The main aim of this was to cause an increase in duration of the principle used by the EU where more than 50 people are employed. The impact that this would have on the employment relations in the country is not quite clear yet.
The plan was implemented on workplaces having more than 150 employees in March of 2005. Dates in 2007 were chosen for application in smaller fields of work. According to the directive, the employees of the selected workplaces would be getting information about the company from their employers and also be consulted in various issues which can have an effect on their jobs.
The government in the UK has successfully stopped the different attempts at creating a standard model and for all the companies and hence literally making deals regarding the flexibility of organizations. When this book was getting written, regulations in the drafts were available for seeing. If this directive is implemented in England then it would be containing the following properties:
- The CAC will be having a big role in enforcement and no longer in the tribunals.
- If the laws are not complied with, then hefty fines amounting to thousands of pounds would have to be paid.
- The new arrangements will come into effect when at least 10% of the workforce gives it a nod.
- Both the employees as well as employers will have the permission to arrange for things that would be suiting to the local needs.
- If there is present certain arrangements for consultation, then new changes would come into play only after a vote has been passed using the ballot system, a 40% majority would also be required.
The regulations present in the draft will be applied in cases where both the management as well as the workforce has forced to reach some kind of agreement. This is the model that is expected to be followed in all places of work. The same norms are already followed in cases of determining time of working as well as period of leave. The main features that you will see here are:
- Appointments would be made to the consultation committee with the help of an election using the secret ballot method.
- The maximum number of representatives who can be present is 25. One person would be elected to represent every 50 people.
- The management will have the obligation of providing information to the committee in three different areas:
A. The developments that have taken place recently regarding undertaking of activities as well as the current economic condition.
B. The kind of situation that exists regarding employment in the company and whether anything is there that can threaten the employment.
C. The different decisions that would be causing, changes in working of organizations as well as contracts.
- The management of the company will require consultation from the committee in cases b and c.
- After the committee has been established, it will be up to the members to decide the manner in which it would be diverging from the scheme used by default. This can of course be achieved if the most of the members of the management agree to it.
The government in the UK has been known to oppose any extension that takes place in the council of work. It has also held discussion with others to block directives regarding information. State what this step might be about. Name the arguments that can be put for or against the practice of work council.