The statutory recognition experiment 1976–80
The statutory recognition procedure relied heavily on persuading employers to recognise trade unions by conciliation and mediation. It was only after an exhaustive process intended to encourage employers voluntarily to recognise and negotiate with unions that enforcement procedures were applied. Where an employer refused voluntarily to recognise a union for collective bargaining purposes, the union had the option of referring this refusal to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) under s 11 of the Act. If initial conciliation between the parties was unsuccessful, ACAS was then required to comply with a protracted procedure outlined in the statute before a recommendation of recognition could be made. This procedure provided for a process of consultation and inquiry with the employer, the union and all relevant employees. Where the employer refused to comply with a recommendation of recognition, ACAS was empowered to make a second attempt to settle the matter by conciliation.