UPDATE – Fight de-recognition of UCU at Bournemouth University

Management at Bournemouth University have effectively de-recognised UCU, leaving 300 academic staff without representation. Shown below is the latest update from UCU. Please show your support by “liking” their Facebook Page – Fight de-recognition of UCU at Bournemouth University. Thank-you.

Back in September, UCU members at BU voted unanimously to seek authorisation for a ballot for industrial action if the employer did not restore timely and meaningful negotiation and consultation with UCU. Since then, our position has been endorsed by the Southern Regional Committee, the national joint standing committee on Equality, and the national Higher Education Committee. In November, UCU notified the employer that the dispute was now formal, and the first round of talks aimed at a resolution took place late last month.

The dispute centres on the fundamental principle that UCU has the right to table for consultation or negotiation, matters affecting members. That principle underpins the recognition agreement between the employer and UCU; it is that principle which the employer, in its refusal to negotiate or consult on a range of issues over the past year or so, has abandoned; and it is that principle which is upheld by employers at other institutions. Unless the employer accepts and upholds the principle of UCU autonomy, it cannot claim to observe the recognition agreement, and is thereby de-recognising this branch of UCU in all but name. In this time of uncertainty, the job security of our members is of paramount importance and a de-recognised trade union cannot provide effective representation for its members.

The employer’s position with regard to the recognition agreement and the collective disputes procedure (part of the recognition agreement governing issues where agreement cannot be reached) changes from one month to the next. On 24 September, the employer wrote to the branch chair: “In line with the recognition agreement that BU has with UCU, matters can and should be raised in accordance with the collective disputes procedure.”

On 23 January, the employer wrote to UCU: “We are keen to resolve these issues and would suggest that reviewing our recognition agreement in order to update our working relationship may be a way to take this forward.”

On 28 January, the UCU negotiating team met a negotiating team from the employer in the first talks aimed at resolving the dispute. During that meeting, the employer reaffirmed its commitment to the recognition agreement, and confirmed that the talks were taking place under the terms of the collective disputes procedure. We expect the second round of talks to take place later this month. But even before the date for that meeting has been agreed, the employer has restated its refusal to honour the recognition agreement, in even more emphatic terms than before. The employer emailed UCU on 6 February: “It remains our position that the specific matters you have raised are not subject to the recognition agreement, nor the collective disputes procedure.”

Quite apart from the fact that this amounts to an admission that the employer refuses to observe the recognition agreement itself, UCU regards this naked intransigence as unhelpful and contrary to the spirit of constructive negotiation. The employer claims to recognise UCU, but wants to review the recognition agreement; and wishes UCU to raise matters in accordance with the collective disputes procedure, but regards matters that UCU raises as not being subject to that procedure.

While the employer’s pronouncements about the recognition agreement change from month to month, it remains consistent in attacking your rights to representation. Members made it quite clear In September, and again at the recent branch meeting, that they are prepared to fight to defend those rights. It is only the credible threat of industrial action that brought the employer to the table last month, and it will only be that threat that will restore the trade union rights of members.


Siemens – stop union-busting in the USA

Please support an international campaign on behalf of Siemens workers in the USA. Unite have members working locally at Poole who have raised this issue with their local management and along with Unite nationally are seeking to influence this decision in the States.

Please click on the link below to add your support to the LabourStart email campaign. If “good” employers act like this and get away with it, then we are all in trouble….

USA: Stop Siemens union-busting

Siemens, the global engineering giant, likes to say it’s a socially responsible company. It even just signed an agreement with labour organizations committing to respect workers’ rights around the globe.

So what does Siemens do within days after signing this agreement?

It launches a vicious union busting campaign.

In Maryland, USA, Siemens has hired a top-dollar anti-union consultant and waged a campaign that’s included intimidation, surveillance, threats involving termination, and prohibiting Siemens employees from even talking about the union.

The workers at Siemens in Maryland are fighting back. They’re seeking to organize with the United Steelworkers and are reaching out to unions around the world for support.

UNISON demo outside Poole Hospital

Several hundred delegates from the UNISON conference being held at the BIC in Bournemouth attended a lunchtime flash demo, on June 21st, outside Poole General Hospital in protest against the South West Pay NHS Cartel.

Sixteen NHS trusts in the South West have banded together in a bid to make “radical” changes to staff pay, terms and conditions outside of the national Agenda for Change agreement. Each trust paid £10,000 to join this cartel.

The consortium of trusts is considering a suite of proposals to reduce workforce costs by 8 per cent across the region.

A leaked document drawn up by this consortium reveals that, if a deal cannot be reached, trusts may consider dismissing staff and rehiring them on the new terms in order to force through the changes.

Plans include changes to working hours, annual leave entitlements and pay. The consortium also intends to look at “attractive, performance-driven approaches” to pay and conditions.

Poole NHS trust is a “key player” in setting up the cartel as its chief executive, Chris Bown, is chair of its steering group.

Unison say the plans will “damage patient care and drive down pay”, and threatens the future of on-going national negotiations between unions and government representatives on changes to Agenda for Change.

Unison South West state: “We believe the cartel’s approach is simply a cost cutting exercise which will affect the quality of services.”

“The consequences for the region will be disastrous; skilled health workers will be driven out of the region, taking money out of the local economy, deepening the healthcare postcode lottery.”

Unison head of health Christina McAnea, said: “The setting up of this pay cartel is a crude attempt to drive down wages, which in turn will damage the quality of patient care in all 16 trusts.

“The cartel will lead to shortages of key staff who will vote with their feet and move to hospitals where the pay is better and patients will be the ones who suffer.”

She added: “Cutting wages of hospital workers will also have a knock-on effect on already depressed economies in the South West. Health workers are already suffering from a two year pay freeze and this further assault on their pay and conditions will hit morale as well as their spending power.”

“We do not want rogue employers threatening to undermine the stability of national pay bargaining and Agenda for Change. It is not too late for those 16 trusts to do the right thing by their patients and staff and drop this damaging and divisive plan.”

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Sources: UNISONHealth Sources Journal Nursing TimesRCN

If you have any pictures you would like added to the slideshow, please email them to us at info@bpacc.co.uk