The previous two chapters looked at both employer and trade union strategies in relation to the recognition law and raised the question of what might constitute legitimate contestation over employee representation in the workplace. This chapter turns to a key change to the law introduced in 2004 by which certain practices within the procedure can be challenged as unfair. Subsequent to its implementation, the 2010 survey of trade unions found that whilst the overwhelming majority reported that they had encountered employer behaviour which they considered constituted an unfair practice, less than a quarter had submitted a complaint under the legislation. The chapter sets out the background to the call for a change to the law and examines the content of the legislative amendment, noting that either party can commit unfair practices with negative consequences for the offending party. It also considers why unions have made only a small number of claims alleging unfair practices, as well as why none have been upheld.
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