Union wins right to fight for recognition at care charity

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Government body rules that Unison has a case and its application can proceed

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19th July 2019 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

A trade union has won the first round in its battle for recognition at a major Scottish social care charity.

Unison has been told that its application for the right to represent its members at Cornerstone can proceed.

The union sees this as a major breakthrough in its battle to force recognition at the charity, which sensationally ripped up a long-standing collective bargaining deal last year amid industrial acrimony.

Both sides had been locked in dispute over how staff are impacted by the implementation of the charity’s strategic plan, as well as a pay claim.

Unison applied to UK government body the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) in a bid to achieve statutory recognition – a rare move in Scottish industrial relations and unprecedented in the third sector.

TFN previously revealed that the dispute had reached the top of the Scottish Government, as health secretary Jeane Freeman convened a meeting with the charity, the union and the local government body, Cosla.

Now the CAC has ruled that Unison has a case and the application can proceed.

The CAC panel found: “our task is a matter of judgment not science. Given that the statutory test is based on likelihood the panel is of the view that once all the speculative comment is stripped away the evidence provided… supports our conclusion that this is a case where the union’s application should be accepted by the CAC.”

There will now be further rounds for the union to clear before recognition is enforced.

Ultimately, the case could come down to a ballot of Cornerstone’s entire, 2,200-plus workforce.

A spokeswoman for Cornerstone said: “We have been notified that the CAC has decided that Unison’s application for statutory recognition is admissible. This means that both parties move to the next stage of the process, which is when the CAC will decide the bargaining unit for the purposes of any future ballot.

“Unison does not currently have recognition for the purposes of collective bargaining within Cornerstone but we continue to respect every individual member of staff’s right to be a member of a union.”

Deborah Clarke, Unison regional organiser, said: “Unison is delighted with this decision by the CAC to accept our application for statutory recognition. Unison will always act to protect our members’ rights to an effective voice in their workplace. We hope that Cornerstone will now get back around the table to discuss the way forward.”