Union Busting in the UK Housing Association and Charitable Sector

Back to all Motions

2015 Community Service Group Conference
7 November 2014

This conference notes:

That a small number of Housing associations and other Charities in our sector are openly hostile to trade unions, carry out American style anti union practices and refuse to recognise trade unions.

The right of free assembly and collective bargaining is a fundamental human right enshrined in international law. Any failure by any employer to honour these rights with regard to trade unions means they do not respect human rights.

We note that most Housing Associations are also registered charities and should share a similar social ethos with regard to good governance and respecting human rights.

Organisations which do not treat their staff with respect will not treat their clients or residents with respect either.

Replacing free and democratic trade unions with internal “staff associations” is historically is a central plank of the philosophy called corporatism which has direct links with far right political groups in the UK and abroad.

The sector as a whole is still hugely dependent on public procurement and funding, direct or indirect, while at the same time paying its senior management huge amounts of money.

Many supporters of national charities would be horrified to find out that these charities refuse to recognise or engage with independent trade unions.

There is a huge reputational and financial risk to the whole sector by charities engaging in such union busting.

This Conference Calls on the Service Group Executive to:-

1) Actively support and help campaign against union busting by Housing Associations and Charities.

2) Draw up a campaign plan on how to organise in Community organisations that we do not currently have trade union recognition.

3) Call upon Labour Link to examine whether local Councils and a future Labour Government should debar any organisation that does not recognise trade unions from access to public funding.

4) Call upon the Government to hold an independent public enquiry into the governance and democratic deficit in the charitable sector.