Collective agreements
Collective agreements

The following Employment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Collective agreements
  • Enforceability between union and employer
  • Enforceability between employee and employer
  • Changes to collective agreements
  • No strike clauses

Collective agreements are agreements negotiated between trade unions and employers or employers' associations.

Enforceability between union and employer

A collective agreement will be enforceable between the union and the employer if it is in writing and contains a provision (however expressed) indicating that the parties intend it to be legally enforceable.

This rule applies to collective agreements only where they relate to:

  1. terms and conditions of employment, or the physical conditions of work

  2. engagement or non-engagement, or termination or suspension of employment or duties of employment

  3. allocation of work or duties

  4. discipline

  5. membership of a trade union

  6. facilities for trade union officials

  7. machinery for negotiation or consultation

An exception to these requirements is where the Central Arbitration Committee issues a statutory declaration that a union is recognised as entitled to conduct collective bargaining on behalf of a particular bargaining unit of workers (see para 31 of Schedule A1 of TULR(C)A 1992), and a collective agreement is reached between union and employer as to the method by which collective bargaining is to be conducted (see Practice Note: Reference to Central Arbitration Committee). In such circumstances, the collective agreement has effect as if contained in a legally enforceable contract.

For further information, see:

Harvey NI[3202]–[3230]: Primary effect