Job loss fears fuel pro-euro argument
threatening withdrawal of investment if Britain does not give a clearer commitment to join.
“I have had conversations with inward investors over the last two weeks and they have told me categorically that Britain must join the euro,” he said. “They want to limit costs as far as possible, and exchange rate instability is reducing profits.”
The AEEU estimates that 150,000 of its membership of about 750,000 are directly dependent on inward investors. These jobs would go if the parent firm relocated to a country which is part of monetary union.
Sir Ken declined to name which companies are considering withdrawal.
Many inward investors, principally from the Far East, have set up plants in Britain to benefit from the relatively low employment costs and access to the single market. But the usefulness of the single market is limited while the UK stays out of the single currency, adding to transaction costs. The high level of the pound has eroded the value of exports.
New base boosts campaign
The AEEU has set up an office in Dundee to support its recruitment and recognition campaign.
The union, which has pioneered partnership agreements, also announced two further recognition deals. One was at Dundee-based wheelchair manufacturer Lomax Mobility, which employs 140; the other was at assembly firm APW, with 130 staff – where the AEEU has over 70 per cent membership.
AEEU leader Sir Ken Jackson plans to invite business leaders from the Dundee region to meet with union officials. Under statutory union recognition arrangements, due to come into effect in the spring, a union with majority membership in a company or business unit will qualify for automatic recognition.
Consultation papers on the new law were published this month.
web link www.dti.gov.uk/ir/consultz.htm
IPD names claim danger areas
By Helen Rowe
Confrontational union recognition claims will emerge in the newspaper industry and the voluntary sector, the IPD has warned.
Employee relations adviser Mike Emmott said the two areas were likely to prove the most problematic as the date nears for statutory recognition procedures, expected in the spring.
Difficulties in the voluntary sector stem partly from unions finding it difficult to communicate with staff.
“Typically they are small workplaces and the unions have had difficulty organising themselves to service their members.”
Meanwhile, in newspapers, he said, a history of conflict had created a bitter legacy. “The background in newspapers is that strong trade unions which had considerable industrial muscle in the past led to management asserting itself. Unions were sidelined and this led to derecognition in some circumstances.”
The Government’s Employment Relations Bill means employers now have to recognise unions where a sufficient number of staff is in favour.
Owen Davies of Unison said, “Trade unions have not taken the voluntary sector as seriously as we should have done. That is changing now.”
Dee Mair, group personnel manager at United News and Media, said no formal agreement has yet been reached between the Express and the National Union of Journalists.
She said the Express has an “ongoing relationship” with the union although it does not negotiate over pay.
“We are waiting to see what comes out of the legislation before we do anything,” she said.
She added that full union recognition already exists at HTV which is also owned by the company.
John Foster, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said, “About 35 per cent of regional and national papers are papers are talking to us at the moment although no full agreements have yet been reached.”