Union membership rises but deals on the slide

Trade
union membership has swelled by more than 78,000 since last year, but the
number of recognition deals made with companies has fallen by half in the past
12 months.

The
Trade Union Trends Recognition Survey 2003 recorded 166 new recognition deals,
half the number recorded the year before and around a third of the 2001 survey.

Unions
have accused employers of using US-style union-busting techniques to pressure
staff into not choosing union representation in recognition ballots.

The
TUC claims tactics include special anti-union publications, videos, one-on-one
briefings, and ‘all-staff’ letters to persuade employees that a union voice
would damage the company and increase the likelihood of redundancies and
outsourcing.

TUC
General Secretary Brendan Barber said these practices threatened improvements
in industrial relations and the Government should step in to stop them.

By Michael Millar

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