Fury after charity axes union deal

Unison picket cropped

​Union says charity has scrapped recognition deal following dispute.

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12th February 2016 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

A Scottish charity has sparked anger after it derecognised a trade union.

Unison claims Early Years Scotland has scrapped a 16-year-old recognition deal, which gives the union the right to consult and negotiate over pay and other terms and conditions of employment.

It is alleged that bosses at the charity – which delivers support to providers of early learning and childcare – made the move unilaterally.

This follows a dispute last summer when Unison members voted to reject a 2% cut in the employer’s pension contribution and a major reduction in sick pay entitlement.

Problems do not go away by simply imposing cuts on your staff

Despite an indicative ballot showing a majority of members in favour of industrial action, Unison says Early Years Scotland’s board and management refused to negotiate and imposed the changes on its employees.

Later in the year, the union said an annual pay award was implemented without any consultation or negotiation with Unison representatives.

The union says it has now been informed by Early Years Scotland that it will no longer recognise it and has moved to set-up a staff consultation committee which will consult but not negotiate with workplace reps on employment matters.

Deborah Dyer, Unison’s regional organiser for the third sector, urged the charity to think again.

She said: ‘We urge Early Years Scotland management to get back round the table and continue talking with us. We have had 16 years constructive working relationship. These problems do not go away by simply imposing cuts on your staff.

“It’s much better we do what we have done for 16 years which is to work our way through these difficult issues."

Barbara Dale, the chair of the charity's board, told TFN: "Early Years Scotland board has decided to move away from the voluntary recognition agreement with Unison as the agreement states that Unison has sole bargaining powers on behalf of all staff whether they are union members or not. 

"Since only a minority of staff are union members, having the voluntary agreement in place means that only a small proportion of staff have a voice in organisational matters. This has led to many staff being unhappy about this as they think it is an unfair situation.

"The board has responded to this by deciding to establish a new staff consultation committee which will be fair, inclusive and ensure that all staff, union members and non-union members, will now have a voice and everyone will be invited to participate in a democratic way in relation to organisational decisions.

"Although Early Years Scotland no longer has a formal recognition agreement with Unison, it will continue to value the role and place of the union.

"With regard to Unison’s description about the process relating to Early Years Scotland’s recent changes to staff conditions, we would like to say that this is inaccurate as all members of staff voluntarily agreed to the new terms being implemented."