Labour Research January 2018

Union news

Recognition demands

The Unite general union has stepped up demands for formal union recognition in the Houses of Parliament after a survey revealed very serious levels of bullying and widespread mental health problems among staff there (see page 23). 

Unite national officer for the not-for-profit sector Siobhan Endean said: “The survey of members demonstrates that in some cases there can be a toxic and dysfunctional relationship between MPs and staff which can cause long-term health problems.”

MPs’ staff are jointly employed by the individual MP and the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA). 

The union says the lack of recognition by IPSA means that Unite reps do not have facilities and legal protections, such as the right to time off to attend meetings of the anti-harassment working group.

In early November, Unite representatives met with prime minister Theresa May and requested her support for the union to be formally recognised, but were still awaiting her response as Labour Research went to press. Unite has now written to all party leaders requesting their support for voluntary recognition.