Scottish MPs give backing to union recognition bid at BSkyB

Broadcasting trade union Bectu has gathered support from members of the
Scottish Parliament in its long-fought bid to get staff recognition rights at
BSkyB.

Independent MSP Damien Quigg, Labour MSP Scott Barrie, and parliamentary
candidate for the Scottish Socialist Party, Linda Graham, have pledged support.

Bectu has accused BSkyB – the parent company of Sky Subscriber Services,
which in turn runs the Scotland-based call centres – of unfair labour practices
following a recent ballot.

Recognition was rejected by six to one, but the union claims staff were
intimidated by management and a key trade union representative was harassed.

In March, BSkyB group HR director Craig McCoy resigned after he threatened
that jobs would be lost if staff voted in favour of union recognition.

In a letter to staff in Scotland, McCoy said that BSkyB would consider
outsourcing its call centre operations if a vote for recognition of Bectu was
successful (see news, 18 February).

Commenting on the case, Damien Quigg said: " When people are challenged
for choosing to join a trade union, this amounts to institutionalised
anti-trade union prejudice."

Sharon Elliott, Bectu official, said: "Central to the union’s response
is the call for measures to outlaw unfair labour practices like those deployed
at BSkyB’s call centres earlier this year, which really served to make a fair
and free vote on the question of union recognition an impossibility."

BSkyB spokesman Julian Eccles said BSkyB will recognise any union lawfully
voted for by staff.

He confirmed that three of the heads of HR – Craig McCoy, Kim Lardge, head
of HR for Sky Subscriber Services and Ann Necus, head of HR and development –
have all left the company.

By Quentin Reade

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