Members across the Telecoms & Financial Services industries are being reminded of their statutory rights to union representation in disciplinary, performance, attendance, grievance and redundancy hearings.
With a resurgence in the prevalence of such hearings currently underway – as companies respond to the easing of Covid restrictions and the tapered withdrawal of the Government’s furlough scheme with sometimes painful adjustments to business models and a renewed focus on targets – the CWU has put together a simple ‘Know Your Rights’ guide for members who find themselves on the sharp end of the ‘new normal’.
Assistant secretary Dave Jukes explains: “Particularly in the parts of the T&FS sector where unions are not recognised for collective bargaining purposes we are seeing instances where companies are initiating challenging meetings for members without any reference whatsoever to the fact that individuals have a fundamental legal right to be accompanied by a trade union representative.
“Sadly this approach is not exclusive to managers in businesses that have no history of trade union engagement – and a number of recent instances in companies that really should know better have reinforced the importance of individuals knowing their rights to be accompanied.
“Clearly, if individuals are unfamiliar with often complex and sometimes intimidating processes , and therefore unable to challenge any possible breaches of either their basic employment rights or the application of the processes themselves, their ability to ensure they are fairly treated will be seriously compromised.
“That’s why we’re asking branches to actively promote the ‘Know Your Rights’ guide – which importantly contains a section on redundancy situations that are unfortunately becoming more and more prevalent across the T&FS sector.”
With the distribution of the document in either paper or electronic form already underway by branches, Dave urges members to digest the information contained within it and ideally to keep a copy to hand.
“Hopefully the guide will provide individuals with some helpful pointers as to their legal rights should they suddenly and unexpectedly find themselves in challenging situations that frankly anyone would find scary and intimidating,” he explains.
“At the end of the day, however, the key advice to members is to speak to your local branch at the earliest possible opportunity if you are called to a meeting that gives you cause for concern, because the CWU is here to represent you in just these situations.”