Freedom of Association

How to comply 2 - what it looks like in practice

The right to strike

Notice to strike

  • Make sure that you are aware of the correct procedure for unions to notify you of any intention to strike. When this notice is given, you should use this as an opportunity to engage with the union to discuss issues and try to find and amicable solution. Downtime through strike action will cost your business in both time and money. It may also cause damage to the company’s reputation and attract unwanted media attention.

Treatment of striking workers

  • Ensure that where a union ballots its members and agrees to take industrial action, you do not retaliate against those workers that take part in the action. This includes disciplinary action against them, bullying or victimisation of striking workers.

  • You do not need to pay workers who are organising strikes or take part in them.

Returning workers

  • When a strike is finished, you must allow workers to return to their original jobs

Payments to Unions


Payment of fees

  • Ensure that where union payments are being taken directly from a worker’s pay through the payroll; you have a written agreement for this signed by the worker. (Example deduction slip is given in Appendix 1).

  • Any deductions must be detailed on the worker’s payslip.

  • Only the set amounts can be deducted from a worker’s pay. This may be easier to do via direct debit. Your local union office can help you set this up. If you pay workers in cash, you should liaise with the local office to arrange payment

Recognising Trade Unions

  • You need to decide whether or not to recognise a union on site. This link will help take you through the decision process.

  • You can choose to voluntarily recognise a union.

  • If you are not willing to recognise a union to represent your workers you must first refuse the initial application from the union, and then you may try to show that the union is not compatible with effective management of the workplace. The CAC will have the final decision on whether or not this is the case.

  • You must not try to influence workers’ decisions to join or support a union through unfair labour practices (such as those mentioned in ‘Treatment of Striking Workers’ section, above).

Now take the next step through: Freedom of Association and the Rght to Collective Bargaining.

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