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Consultation at WorkRegulation and Practice$
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Mark Hall and John Purcell

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199605460

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199605460.001.0001

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Half-Hearted Regulation in the United Kingdom

Half-Hearted Regulation in the United Kingdom

(p.67) 4 Half-Hearted Regulation in the United Kingdom
Consultation at Work

Mark Hall

John Purcell

Oxford University Press

UK legislative initiatives concerning consultation were a reluctant response to EU requirements, resulting from European Court of Justice (ECJ) rulings and EU directives on EWCs and ICE. The ECJ required consultation on specific issues through employee representatives where an employer did not recognize a union. The Trades Union Congress (TUC) began to show interest in statutory rights to consultation although proposals were not adopted and union preference for ‘single channel of representation’ remained. The Labour government response to the ICE directive was to adopt all-employee ballots for consultative committees with no ‘union priority’. This reflected the employers' position. The eventual regulations, which emerged from tri-partite discussion with the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and TUC, are critically analysed, especially the requirement for a 10 per cent ‘trigger’ and the employer freedoms associated with pre-existing agreements (PEAs). There is little pressure on employers to adopt ICE arrangements, and where they do, the outcome is ‘legislatively prompted voluntarism’.

Keywords:   uk legislation, ECJ, directives, TUC, single-channel, employers, tri-partite, trigger, pre-existing agreements, voluntarism

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