Collective Consultation With Trade Unions

27th February 2021

Kostal UK Ltd v Dunkley and others

Trade union legislation makes it unlawful for employers to offer incentives to workers to influence their relationship with unions, for example by paying them to refrain from joining a union. In 2019, the Court of Appeal will hear an important case exploring the legislation’s scope.

In this case, the employer sent letters to employees asking them to agree a pay deal that had been rejected by their trade union. The employer stated in the letters that a result of staff not agreeing to the pay deal on the table was that it would be unable to pay them their Christmas bonus that year.

When the case reached the EAT, it held that the employer offered unlawful inducements when it attempted to bypass collective bargaining with a trade union by making pay offers directly to the union’s members.

This case is a very important one for employers faced with a situation where collective bargaining has broken down with a union and they wish to approach employees directly. Employers should be aware that employment tribunals can order employers to pay a fixed award of just over £4,000 to each claimant, meaning that the financial ramifications for a breach of this legislation can be serious.

For support on consultation, please contact your Heads HR Consultant on 0161 850 4343.



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