Employment Appeal Tribunal (Scotland)
A trade union, which wrote to a local authority to complain about pay inequalities suffered by its members, had not lodged a collective grievance for the purposes of the Employment Act 2002 (Dispute Resolution) Regulations 2004 reg.9 because it had not named the members to which its letter referred. The naming of names was not a mere technicality, but was a clear statutory requirement.
HELD: (1) The fundamental issue to be determined by the employment tribunal had been whether it had had, pursuant to the Employment Act 2002 s.32, jurisdiction to entertain the claims. Only then could it consider whether the statutory grievance procedure had been complied with. It had failed to provide an answer to the jurisdiction issue in terms. It ought to have approached the matter on the basis that before it could properly and competently adjudicate, an individual had to present a relevant complaint in accordance with statutory requirements. It had instead approached the matter on the basis that it was dealing with a large, general equal pay complaint where parties were, as yet, unidentified. Regulation 18 required a complaint to have emanated from a claimant and to relate to action being taken or going to be taken by him. That requirement could be met by an agent acting with authority to do so, but a general complaint by an organisation such as a trade union not acting as an agent could not fall into that category, regardless of how much that organisation had the interests of its members at heart. On the facts, T's correspondence amounted to an attempt to perform a collective bargaining exercise and in none of its letters had T stated that they were writing in the capacity as agents for their members, Holland v London Society of Compositors (1924) 40 TLR 440, Young v Canadian Northern Railway Co (1931) AC 83 PC (Can) and Chappell v Times Newspapers Ltd (1975) 1 WLR 482 CA (Civ Div) considered. The tribunal had failed to make any finding that T had sufficient authority before considering the separate issue of whether there was a need to identify individual claimants. The letters could not be construed as having been written by T in an agency capacity and the tribunal had therefore not had authority to hear the case unless reg.9 of the Regulations applied and had been complied with. Regulation 9 only applied where at least two names had been specified in the grievance letter and the tribunal had been correct to find that reg.9 had not been complied with. The tribunal had been wrong to regard the naming of names as being a mere technicality. It was a clear statutory requirement, Alitalia Airport SpA v Akrif (2008) ICR 813 EAT considered. (2) The tribunal had been wrong to criticise the local authority for raising issues concerning the need for identification of claimants. That was especially so as it was a public body with a duty to protect the public purse. It had also been wrong to interpret authorities as relaxing the requirements of Sch2. para.6 of the 2002 Act, Shergold v Fieldway Medical Centre (2006) ICR 304 EAT considered.
 ICR 1150
AGENCY, COLLECTIVE BARGAINING, EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNALS, EQUAL PAY, JURISDICTION , LOCAL GOVERNMENT
William Meade (Senior Clerk)