Unauthorised strike resulted in dismissal

A Glasgow business has been criticised for reportedly dismissing three staff during their shift, apparently because they organised protests in a bid to increase the number of staff in the business.

A fund started by the union Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) has raised over £3000 to support the staff and cover lost wages. The IWW are calling for the three workers to be reinstated.

The business claim that they knew staff were a part of a union only after they performed a walk-out during one of their shifts and have questioned the legitimacy of IWW as an official trade union.

The business commented via Twitter that “The IWW is not an organisation that the majority of our staff are affiliated with and is not a recognised union in the UK or affiliated with the TUC,” “No TUC affiliated union would endorse the action that took place as it breaks union strike guidelines.”

“The disruption to the activity of the business by the work stoppage on a busy weekend of trade unfortunately created a situation for both our staff and our customers which could not be ignored. Consequently, for the first time in the history of the business, we were forced to serious disciplinary action.”

Currently any group of people can constitute themselves as a trade union, and a business which meets this requirement can be put on the Certification Officer’s public list of trade unions. However, unions must still seek ‘recognition’ from an employer to engage in negotiation and bargaining. Recognition agreements are usually reached voluntarily, but if not,  can be reached with the help of ACAS.

In the case of an agreement not being met, a union may apply for statutory recognition through requesting recognition from an employer through writing.  Legally, employers don’t have to recognise a trade union because they can opt for negotiating with employees individually.

This case illustrates some of the common misconceptions about trade unions, industrial action and recognition. The staff in this case may have had legitimate concerns but in walking out/refusing to work it undeniably left them open to dismissal without any protection.

If you have any question relating to Trade Unions recognition, contact us at enquiries@121hrsolutions.co.uk.

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