Labour Research July 2018

Law Queries

Central Arbitration Committee

Q. What does the Central Arbitration Committee do?

A. The Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) works to resolve collective disputes in England, Scotland and Wales.

The Northern Ireland Assembly has its own equivalent of the CAC.

The CAC has various statutory powers, although it encourages voluntary agreement. It also offers voluntary arbitration in collective disputes.

Among CAC responsibilities is the resolution of disputes relating to statutory recognition of unions. If a recognition request to an employer fails, a CAC application can be made for recognition of a union for collective bargaining, providing the union meets the qualifying conditions. 

CAC panel members consider the application and a case manager is allocated to the union. The CAC then assists with determining the bargaining unit, balloting for union recognition and agreeing bargaining machinery.

The CAC also has several other areas of responsibility. For example, among other things, it will consider complaints about failure to disclose information for collective bargaining purposes. It also deals with applications and complaints relating to information and consultation arrangements. 

The CAC website has guidance as well as application and response forms.