Collective agreements

The following Employment practice 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

Collective agreements are agreements negotiated between one or more trade unions and employers or employers' associations and which relate to one or more of the following:

  1. terms and conditions of employment, or the physical conditions in which any workers are required to work

  2. engagement or non-engagement, or termination or suspension of employment or the duties of employment, of one or more workers

  3. allocation of work or the duties of employment between workers or groups of workers

  4. matters of discipline

  5. a worker’s membership or non-membership of a trade union

  6. facilities for officials of trade unions

  7. machinery for negotiation or consultation, or other procedures, relating to any of the above matters, including the recognition by employers of the right of a trade union to represent workers in such negotiation, consultation or other procedures

Enforceability between union and employer

A collective agreement will be conclusively presumed not to have been intended by the union and the employer to be a legally enforceable contract unless it:

  1. is in writing, and

  2. contains a provision (however expressed) indicating that the parties intend it to be legally enforceable

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

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