Labour Research October 2012

Union news

Revise recognition rules, says Unite

Statutory rules on union recognition must be revised to avoid the situation as at News International (NI) where independent unions cannot get recognition, says assistant general secretary of the Unite union Tony Burke.

His call came during last month’s TUC Congress debate on the Leveson Inquiry, where Burke linked NI’s alleged illegal activities to its avoidance of unions, which would have acted as a brake if had they been recognised.

Paragraph 35 of the recognition legislation gives employers immunity from recognising unions if there is a “pre-existing arrangement”. At NI the existence of the in-house News International Staff Association (NISA) has allowed the management to rebuff recognition attempts by Unite and the NUJ journalists’ union. NISA has not been certified as independent by the certification officer.

Burke said that “Paragraph 35 has to go” in order that free and independent unions, such as the NUJ and Unite can put a stop to the kind of activities that happened at NI.