Compulsory Union Recognition – Fragmentation of Bargaining Units

Shiva Shadi, Partner and Head of Employment at Davis Blank Furniss

In Lidl v CAC, the Court of Appeal held that single small units of an employer’s workforce should be subject to compulsory trade union recognition given the statutory requirement to consider the desirability of avoiding small fragmented bargaining units.

Lidl argued unsuccessfully that such a small bargaining unit (1.2% of total workforce) was not compatible with effective management and it would be ‘fragmented’. The Court held that the provisions relating to fragmentation of bargaining units cover fragmentation of recognition between bargaining units of fragmented collective bargaining but not where there was a single bargaining unit in the workplace with no risk of a proliferation of bargaining units arising if recognition were given.

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