UNISON has won an important victory on recognition in Yorkshire, after a company that had taken over a branch of services in Bradford threatened to derecognise the union.
In April 2013, Creative Support Ltd took over the contract for adult supported living in Bradford from the city’s district care NHS trust and five other charity organisations.
As soon as the transfer went through, the company wrote to UNISON to advise that it believed that the bargaining unit had been broken and was derecognising all the trade unions, including UNISON.
The union lodged an employment tribunal case for failure to consult, which is required by TUPE, and a preliminary hearing was listed for 21 November.
Creative Support has maintained that it will only recognise UNISON if the union has a central arbitration committee ruling.
However, following lengthy negotiations with the employer, which included bringing ACAS in to concilliate, a Cot3 agreement is now being drawn up.
In settlement of the case, this gives UNISON a sole voluntary recognition agreement that will cover the whole of adult supported living in Bradford, with full collective bargaining rights, and includes bringing the five other organisations that transferred in to the bargaining unit.
The basis of the Cot3 means that UNISON agrees to withdraw the claim, although not to have it dismissed. Therefore, if the employer considers derecognition again in the future, the company will be in breach of the Cot3 and the union’s legal position will be preserved.
Yorkshire and Humberside regional organiser Gary Cleaver said: “The work we do is really important in helping vulnerable adults live with dignity.
“Today’s announcement means that the union will be better able to look after staff that provide this vital service.”