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The chair of the Employment Bar Association has won a crucial judicial review against the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC), the government's arbiter on union matters
John Bowers QC of Littleton Chambers overturned the CAC's earlier decision on the basis that it wrongly interpreted the trade union recognition legislation within the Employment Relations Act 1999. The CAC was represented by David Bean QC, the Bar chairman and Bowers' predecessor at the Employment Bar Association. It was the first time that an application for challenging the legality of the CAC's earlier ruling has been successful. It was also the first case on the union recognition provisions. The CAC is considering the ruling before deciding whether to appeal. Bowers was acting for Kwik-Fit, which was challenging the CAC's ruling that all the company's centres within the M25 were "an appropriate bargaining unit". The company initially challenged an attempt by the Transport and General Workers Union (T&G) to win union recognition at Kwik-Fit branches in the London area. Jeremy Lewis, Bowers' junior counsel, said: "If there is a London bargaining unit, there is then a risk that there will be other regional bargaining units. "This may result in competition between the different bargaining units, as each tries to outdo the terms negotiated by the other, possibly with different unions being recognised in different areas. Kwik-Fit's concern is that this is not compatible with effective management," he added. T&G was represented by Helen Mountfield of Matrix Chambers.