This is an area that offers employers the greatest flexibility to meet the challenges. The government will continuously monitor this provision to ensure that it does not undermine the functioning of recognition procedures. Voluntary recognition is available when an employer recognises a trade union as a workers` representative. However, a number of issues need to be addressed before voluntary recognition becomes final. An independent federal authority supervises the activities of employers and trade unions in the context of the recognition of a workers` representative. Federal labour law defines how voluntary recognition takes place and what must be done after voluntary recognition. Most trade union recognition regimes are defined in this way. Such voluntary recognition offers the parties maximum flexibility and avoids having to apply alternative, potentially complex legal recognition procedures. Since enterprises employing fewer than 21 persons (including employees of related enterprises) are excluded from the legislation, the CAC will automatically refuse any application for recognition in small enterprises. Workers with related employers created outside the UK are not included unless they normally work in the UK. Special rules apply to commercial shipping. Formal written agreements of this type – so-called “procedural” agreements – prevent any misunderstanding and achieve continuity and coherence. If relations develop, the parties may wish to review and update their procedural agreements on a regular basis.

The Industrial Relations Agency (LRA) may allow meetings to assist the parties in developing procedural and recognition agreements. . . .