Union busting is alive and kicking

CWU reps

LAST week, telecoms firm Virgin Media announced the result of its ‘referendum’ on union recognition for its engineers, members of CWU and BECTU. The ’result’ – if we can call it that as there were no independent scrutineers – was a slim majority in favour of dropping union recognition; 52% to 48% against.

 

The ‘result’ came as no surprise to us at CWU. It was in many ways a foregone conclusion with the referendum used to create a semblance of credibility for what the company wanted. There was no level playing field. We were told of the company’s intentions when their letters to staff were already in the post, giving us just two working days until it opened. Oh, and they included people not covered by recognition agreements in the voting pool, perhaps to dilute the pro-union vote.

 

Virgin Media bombarded its staff with company propaganda in letters, emails and website messages, at compulsory briefings with company directors and even phonecalls from managers to employees who had not yet voted. How did they know? Was this not an anonymous process? And if managers knew who had voted, did they also know which way they voted? These were some of the concerns being passed to us by employees. The company did allow us a short statement on their intranet (described as ‘very difficult to find’ by one employee). We’re told that managers are receiving a break-down of the voting results to see who got the ‘right’ result for the company. What they will do with the information is anyone’s guess. Read More…