Superunion gives manufacturing staff more political clout

Manufacturing
workers will have a much louder voice in Whitehall following the launch of
"superunion" Amicus.

The
union, which was formed as a result of a merger between the Amalgamated
Engineering and Electrical Union and the Manufacturing Science Finance, will
have an annual income of £66m.

Amicus,
which means friend or partner in Latin, has more than 100 MPs and MEPs among
its 1 million members.

Sir
Ken Jackson, joint general secretary of Amicus, said tackling the productivity
gap is top of its agenda.

"We
are determined that our new strength is placed at the disposal of this
country’s economic reform and future success," said Jackson.

He
added, "As the largest affiliate of the Labour Party, we have immense
political influence in Brussels and Whitehall alike."

Amicus
will be the UK’s second biggest union after Unison and will negotiate with some
of the country’s largest employers including Unilever, Ford, BAE Systems and
Prudential.

The
size of the new union will allow cost cutting and give it more political clout,
explained Mike Emmott, employee relations adviser at the CIPD.

He
said, "It makes sense to slim down the bureaucracy and enable head office
to deal with ministers more effectively."

Shop
floor employment relations could also be changed. Graham Morton, senior
employee relations adviser of the CBI, said, "It should enable increased
resources and training for unions reps which will improve their understanding
of business realities."

By Ben Willmott

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