24 November 2017 #Employment
This week a trade union, IWGB, has applied for statutory recognition to represent a group of receptionists, security officers and porters who work at the University of London even though these workers are employed by Cordant Security, a facilities management company with the contract to provide services to the University.
The union has described the University as the “de facto employer” and asserted that UK law, if it prevents these workers from collectively bargaining directly with the University, is in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
Even if the financial terms of Cordant’s contract with the University place a practical limit on Cordant’s scope for increasing the pay of these workers, and University managers can instruct Cordant employees to carry out certain tasks, it is very difficult to see how the union can substantiate its claim that the University is the “de facto employer” unless there is evidence that Cordant is not the actual employer responsible for matters such as hiring, pay, disciplinaries and grievances.
It will therefore be very surprising if this application results in either a finding that the union can negotiate directly with the University or that UK law is in breach of ECHR.
There is no suggestion that there is anything preventing the union from seeking recognition by Cordant, provided it meets the statutory tests. The union has in fact done so, albeit without media fanfare, at the same time as its application for direct recognition by the University.
This is an interesting one to keep track of…watch this space for updates as this progresses.