The TUC, in collaboration with the six teachers` and school support unions in England, has published a revised version of the TUC Academies Model Agreement. In line with previous editions, the agreement aims to give trade unions greater recognition in academies and free schools, to improve their negotiating position and to allow representatives to take time off for trade union functions. The agreement was signed by the teachers` unions (NAHT, NASUWT and NEU) and the unions, which represent the support and other professionals of the school (GMB, UNISON and UNITE). Recognition can be obtained either through an agreement with the employer, so-called voluntary recognition, or through a legal procedure called legal recognition. The voluntary route is by far the most privileged and, in fact, the most frequent; it creates a consensus with your employer on the benefits of union recognition from the outset. However, if the voluntary recognition procedure does not bear fruit, we have the right to seek legal recognition from a group of workers of which at least 10% of the group is a member of the NEW. A legal institution, the Central Arbitration Commission (CAC), reviews the union`s application alongside the employer`s representations. Unions negotiate working conditions with you, such as wages and holidays. You must recognize the union before it can negotiate with you. What is critical is that recognition provides representatives with certain rights and employment rights, in particular paid leave for training and the performance of union duties, i.e. the board, negotiation and representation of members with the principal, principal or governing body of your school or higher education institution.
Recognition has many benefits for employers and employees: the TUC and affiliated school unions have developed a brief guide to support the implementation of the model agreement. Although recognition requires both parties to negotiate in good faith, it does not require agreement and does not give the union a veto over any employer proposal. In the end, recognition is as strong as membership and union organization at your school or university, i.e. the number, commitment and collective activity of the members themselves. On the other hand, the lack of union recognition does not necessarily mean that the influence of trade unions is zero. Indeed, many independent schools that do not recognize THE NEW have useful consultation with staff and grant NEU representatives many of the legal rights that would entitle them to recognition. If you do not want to recognize the union and have more than 21 employees, you can apply for legal recognition from the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC). As an employer, you may need to work with unions representing groups of your employees, sometimes called bargaining units. The union must ask you to recognize them voluntarily – if you accept the application, the union will be recognized. If NEU can prove that more than 50% of employees are members, a ACC tribunal will generally automatically grant recognition. If otherwise or if there are doubts as to whether these members wish recognition of the NEW, a ACC tribunal may order the vote of the workers` group.
In this case, a majority of the group must vote in support, and that majority must represent at least 40% of the group for recognition to be granted. In entertaining schools (including academies), however, NEU is not recognized as negotiating collectively on behalf of support staff, although we have the right to represent individually those who opt for THE NEW.