UNION related chat, reflections and experiences. Reps & members alike!

Discussion in 'education & employment' started by Rutita1, Mar 9, 2016.

  1. DaveCinzano


    THIS :mad: :mad: :mad:
    oryx and Rutita1 like this.
  2. equationgirl

    equationgirl Respect my existence or expect my resistance

    It's OK, I already have a distrust of management :)
    Sprocket. and Guineveretoo like this.
  3. Winot

    Winot I wholeheartedley agree with your viewpoint

    Good luck
  4. equationgirl

    equationgirl Respect my existence or expect my resistance

    Thank you - I appreciate it.
  5. Ms T

    Ms T Honey-coloured ramparts

    Management 0 Me 1 :thumbs:
    Almor, equationgirl, belboid and 2 others like this.
  6. Miss-Shelf

    Miss-Shelf I've looked at life from both sides now

    Hope it's been good news
  7. equationgirl

    equationgirl Respect my existence or expect my resistance

    My role is ok but am pretty shell-shocked by some of the selections to be honest. Will be checking in with various people tomorrow to see how they are.
  8. equationgirl

    equationgirl Respect my existence or expect my resistance

    And thanks Miss-Shelf this round of redundancy has been brutal.

    My mother just sent a text saying 'keep your head down'. It's like we've never met :D
    Miss-Shelf likes this.
  9. StoneRoad

    StoneRoad heckling from the back!

    equationgirl - 'tis always the workers and rarely the managers who suffer when the shadow of redundancy looms ... hope everybody you need/prefer/know is OK, if you see want I mean.

    Been on the rough end of this process too many times, myself. So I know how it feels. \although when the interior designers went to the wall, I was a) on holiday and b) kept on right to the bitter end as the partners thought the bank would relent, but the 2008 crash was in full swing ...
    equationgirl likes this.
  10. Miss-Shelf

    Miss-Shelf I've looked at life from both sides now

    Sometimes the strange selections are down to design

    But I think they're often down to lots of people in the chain making decisions based on panic, incompetence, fear of counter claims and lack of strategy

    Hope it's not too awful this week
    (PS what a flipping time to announce that)
    Rutita1, equationgirl and Sprocket. like this.
  11. Lord Camomile

    Lord Camomile Lemonade socialist

    Our outsourced cleaners are striking on Thursday and Friday, and there's a question about crossing picket lines.

    The question is mainly "will our employer discipline us for not crossing", but for many people it'll also be about losing two days' pay. Many of them cross when it's a dispute directly related to them, letalone something like this.

    With such a weak connection between members and union I feel like I can't go all militant on them, and will have to just focus on before/after work and breaks.
    Badgers likes this.
  12. Lord Camomile

    Lord Camomile Lemonade socialist


    Ran off a list of members in my (labyrinthine) department, and there are a handful of managers on there, one quite high up. Would including them tip our hand about crossing picket lines? Does it matter?

  13. Lord Camomile

    Lord Camomile Lemonade socialist

    Just heard (my branch sec is working late! :eek: ) that HR says they expect all employees to attend work as usual, and there is a threat of disciplinary action for refusing to cross the picket line.

    Well, fuck...
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2017
  14. Rutita1

    Rutita1 Scum with no integrity, apparently.

    What does that all mean? To be clear! Any questions in there?

    In personal news... Another JNC last week...we raised concerns about a particular manager's communication style or lack of it, plus what seems to be a shift in organisation valuing of worker insight/expertise as opposed to senior manager overview.... One of the SLT team has clearly not been able to acknowledge that I exist today. :D :(
  15. Puddy_Tat

    Puddy_Tat meh

    Lord Camomile


    since (if i understand it right) this dispute is between a different employer and their staff, you're not (from a legal perspective) involved in this dispute. so if you refuse to cross the picket line, i have a feeling (subject to the usual disclaimers) that you'd not taking part in lawful industrial action and therefore wouldn't have the legal protections involved.

    there's a bit about this sort of thing on PCS website (more from the perspective of the union whose dispute it is) here

    has your branch talked to the union / branch that's going to be on strike, to see what their views are, and how you can offer support in a way that's legal?

    not sure how it's worked on the railways recently where different grades of staff (station / drivers / guards) are in separate disputes.
  16. Lord Camomile

    Lord Camomile Lemonade socialist

    The weird bit is we are the same branch, which is why I thought we'd be protected legally, even if it's a different employer.

    We've definitely talked about other ways to support them, just surprised we're expected to cross.
    Sorry, web forum equivalent of thinking out loud, but thankfully Puddy_Tat was able to make something of it.
  17. Puddy_Tat

    Puddy_Tat meh


    legally, dispute is with a specific employer, if i remember right.

    there have been a few disputes like this recently - outsourced cleaners / catering staff.

    rmt with train cleaners on first great western, cleaners at john lewis shops (think they are uvw) and some government buildings.

    don't think in any case the directly employed staff have come out as well, but not sure what advice has been about picket lines.

    i've managed to avoid this personally - as part time / semi freelance i managed to adjust my days to avoid strike days. in other job, it's been different union, different job group, different building. my union advised to work normally and not cover for striking grades, but can't remember what (if any) advice re picket lines at sites where both groups work
  18. Lord Camomile

    Lord Camomile Lemonade socialist

    No worries, appreciate the thoughts. I've got back to my branch sec asking her advice.

    I always thought it was "don't cross", simple as, but seems like there are more subtleties than I was aware of... :confused:
  19. mauvais

    mauvais change has become unavoidable

    Quick question - I've been in Unite for a decade but possibly aside from the very beginning, never worked anywhere with union recognition. Such is the nature of software engineering. Now, I might be moving, still as a software engineer, to a new job at a large broadcaster that probably does have some arrangement. What would you do in this circumstance? e.g. how do you work out what the right union to be in is, how do you transfer if necessary, etc?
  20. october_lost

    october_lost It's not hip any more...

    You need to check your contract particulars. If there is an agreement it will mention what union can represent you in hearings and meetings. You can still be an individual member of a non-recognised union, but they won't have the same sort of entitlement.
    Guineveretoo and mauvais like this.
  21. Guineveretoo

    Guineveretoo Mostly bewildered

    Unfortunately, the anti trade union legislation which the "New Labour" government failed to repeal means that refusing to cross a picket line constitutes industrial action.

    Legally, if you are a member of another trade union which is not part of that strike, or a member of the same trade union but not in the dispute, then refusing to cross a picket line is unlawful industrial action because it would be classed as secondary action.

    If your business faces industrial action - GOV.UK

    It is a bastard, but there it is.

    Unfortunately, the public sector has clamped down on this in recent years, and many have changed their policy to make clear that they will consider disciplinary action against anyone who is not officially part of the trade dispute refusing to cross the picket line.

    An anomaly in the law, which is not relevant to your position, but might be to some of the cleaners, is that someone who is not a member of any trade union, but is part of the dispute, is protected as if they were a member of the union taking the action, so they can take lawful industrial action. However, if they are members of a different union, even if they are on the same contract as the others, it is classed as secondary action.

    This is something which the civil service spotted and has been exploiting in order to divide the unions, I reckon.

    They are mostly all bastards.

    Riklet, oryx, equationgirl and 2 others like this.
  22. Guineveretoo

    Guineveretoo Mostly bewildered

    I would strongly urge you to join the recognised union, if there is one, as they are the ones who will be speaking to management on your behalf.

    Ask your manager, or look on the intranet.
    mauvais likes this.
  23. Lord Camomile

    Lord Camomile Lemonade socialist

    Ah, fer fuck's sake! :facepalm:

    Cheers for the thoughts and info though, really appreciated :) As it happens my branch sec literally just got back to me as I was typing, saying that it would be considered breach of contract and potential dismissal. So, uh, nope :(
  24. Guineveretoo

    Guineveretoo Mostly bewildered

    yeah, secondary action is a breach of contract.

    It used to be one that was overlooked but, as I say, employers, particularly in the civil service and the wider public service, have clamped down on it recently.

    We tried to challenge it, legally, a few years ago, while there was still a Labour Government (supposedly) but got nowhere, and then the Bastard Coalition got in and we gave up! As well as seeking to get the Act repealed, we were trying to demonstrate that the anomaly to which I referred was not what was intended by the legislation, but the advice we got was that it would be expensive, and not worth it, since it was unlikely to succeed.

    I lay the blame mostly at the Labour Government's door, since they could have repealed this and, although the Bastard Coalition or the Bastard Tories would have sought to reinstated it, it might not have been their priority and it would have been different and might actually have been better. It can't really be much worse, in terms of the definition of secondary industrial action.

    The right to take lawful industrial action is part of our basic human rights under European legislation, and under the Human Rights Act, both of which are currently under threat.

    So I guess it could get worse! :( :eek: :hmm:
  25. Lord Camomile

    Lord Camomile Lemonade socialist

    I knew about secondary action, but I really didn't think this counted. I thought, clearly naively, that if there was a picket line that changed things and you could legitimately refuse to cross, and "secondary action" was more about secondary strikes.

    Learning process...
  26. Guineveretoo

    Guineveretoo Mostly bewildered

    Although it is also worth noting that the TUC did not support the call to repeal the anti trade union legislation, as it was felt that some of it was helpful.

    i find it difficult even to type that, as it undermines my belief in the collective strength of trade unions, but the TUC Congress used to debate the repeal of anti-trade union legislation every year, when there was a Labour Government, and every year it was defeated.

    I can't say that the trade unions are all bastards, but it certainly feels like some of them are/were! :(
  27. Guineveretoo

    Guineveretoo Mostly bewildered

    It was part of the legislation which is so fundamentally against trade unions, as it destroys the effectiveness of picket lines! I remember the days when post office and other delivery vans wouldn't cross picket lines, and when many of the managers wouldn't cross, either, because they wanted to show support and solidarity.

    Picket lines were really good fun, as we felt we were achieving something even more than not being at work that day.

    And that is why the Bastards brought in the new law which made it "secondary action" to refuse to cross a picket line :(
  28. october_lost

    october_lost It's not hip any more...

    I stopped being a rep about six months ago, but, my understanding is 1) HR and managers don't have access to union membership lists, unless you're paying dues through payroll 2) unions notify them which areas of the business they have members in, in the course of industrial action, 3) there is always the chance you can apply to join a union on the picket line.

    Therefore, if the above is true, you have scope, as an individual, to participate in secondary action if your workplace/are of business is effected during industrial action, by a union you're able to join. In theory, if you're workplace is effected, you could go on 'strike' and not be a member of the union. This would only hit a snag if you let it be known you weren't a member, or management forced everyones hand into revealing their membership - which they tend to be reluctant to do.

    I once refused to cross another unions picket. Although it didn't pan out too well, I learned most of this soon after :D
  29. october_lost

    october_lost It's not hip any more...

    By way of intro...

    I was a Unison rep in Higher Education in London until last year. I was quite active in my branch and with casework particularly, despite my relative inexperience prior to that. It was slow and painful, but I could sustain most of it because some of the other branch members were solid :thumbs: I was broadly supportive of the Unison Left, although in retrospect I wish I could have done more outward looking stuff.

    I could deal with most of management nonsense, the single biggest problem I had deal was that narrowing space between union officials on one-hand and co-workers/union members taking the piss on the other-hand. I've had to deal with some grade A knobheads, which is a big recipe for burn-out :(
  30. Guineveretoo

    Guineveretoo Mostly bewildered

    technically and legally, it doesn't matter whether you are a member of that union or not. So long as you are employed in one of the categories covered by the industrial action, you can take lawful industrial action whether or not you are a member of that union. So, in the case above, any cleaner, whether a member of the union taking action or not, would be able to take lawful industrial action and to be protected from dismissal or disciplinary action. And to have their wages stopped.

    The anomaly I mentioned only applies if, in this example, the cleaners are in more than one union, and the other union is not taking industrial action.

    Anyone other than a cleaner in this example who refuses to cross a picket line in this dispute, is deemed to be taking secondary industrial action, which is unlawful and can lead to disciplinary action and even dismissal.
    october_lost likes this.

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