Detailed guide: Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Impact on Trade Unions and Employers’ Associations

Certification Officer

December 22
14:10 2020

Update from the Certification Officer.

I wrote to you on 1 May, setting out my approach to the pandemic situation, particularly where Unions prioritise complying with Government guidance on managing the pandemic over the need to comply with their rules or legislation. To help me deal with enquiries from members about these decisions I asked you to notify me as soon as any breaches of rule or statute became apparent. I am grateful for the information that my team has received from Unions since then, which has assisted us in dealing with enquiries from members about these breaches quickly and efficiently; importantly, none of these enquiries has led to a formal complaint about a Unions response to the pandemic being raised with me.

Looking forward to 2021, it seems as though the extraordinary measures required to control the pandemic will continue to be required for some time. The priority for Unions must, therefore, continue to be compliance with Government guidance on the pandemic and the health and safety of their staff and members should be their paramount concern. This includes, of course, complying with the current tier restrictions. I recognise that this means some Unions may continue to find it difficult to meet the requirements of both their rules and the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. I would encourage them to refer back to my letter of 1 May, attached to this one, which makes some recommendations on how they may wish to proceed and sets out my proposed approach to dealing with complaints received in my office.

If you have any queries about this letter, my previous guidance or wish to notify me of any decisions taken by your Union, then please do get in touch. As always, my team remains happy to discuss our broad advice with Unions but cannot give you detailed advice or guidance. We continue to work away from the office so any correspondence should be sent by email to

Published 11 May 2020
Last updated 22 December 2020 +show all updates
  1. Certification Officer update on Complaints arising from action taken in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

  2. First published.

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