Unions sign partnership agreementwith disability charity

In summer 2005, UK trade unions Amicus and Unison announced that they had signed a 'partnership agreement' with the disability charity Scope which guarantees union representation in the running of the organisation and is expected to boost union membership.

During the summer of 2005, UK trade unions Amicus and Unison announced that they had signed a 'partnership agreement' (UK0205103F) with Scope, the disability charity in England and Wales which focuses on people with cerebral palsy. According to the two unions, the agreement will give staff in Scope 'a real say in how the organisation is run, reflecting the interests of staff through trade union representation on the staff forum', as well as providing facilities to help the unions organise and recruit new members.

The deal, which has been signed by Scope, Amicus, Unison and Scope’s disabled staff group, does not provide union recognition for collective bargaining purposes but does allow for consultation on a range of workplace issues. It guarantees union representation on Scope’s national and local works councils and reportedly includes a comprehensive 'facilities time' agreement. Scope has also undertaken to assist with recruitment. The two unions, each of which has around 400 members within Scope at present, regard the new arrangements as providing an opportunity to boost their membership among the remaining 3,000 Scope staff.

The unions say that the partnership agreement also contains special provision guaranteeing representation for disabled staff working for Scope. The charity has a commitment to increase its proportion of disabled staff to 20% by 2007.

Unison’s national officer Mike Short, said in a statement: 'We are delighted to have signed this partnership agreement with Scope, which is clearly an employer which sees the value of working constructively with trade unions. This deal will enable our members to get involved in the organisation and have a real impact on issues which affect their working life.'

He added: 'Traditionally Scope has had no relationship with trade unions. But new management decided on a new approach, and to work more constructively with the unions. I think Scope is particularly keen to work with Unison as they recognise the leading role we have played in promoting the equalities agenda. Scope is keen to employ more disabled staff, reflecting the work that the organisation does, and our strong self-organised groups make us a natural partner in that.'

Amicus’s national officer for the voluntary sector, Rachael Maskell, said: 'Amicus is really looking forward to a progressive partnership with Scope. This agreement marks a new opportunity in promoting equality and diversity in Scope, and mainstreaming these issues, as well as building sound industrial relations for the future. This is all about engaging staff in industrial relations and in trade unions.'

This information is made available through the European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO), as a service to users of the EIROnline database. EIRO is a project of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. However, this information has been neither edited nor approved by the Foundation, which means that it is not responsible for its content and accuracy. This is the responsibility of the EIRO national centre that originated/provided the information. For details see the "About this record" information in this record.

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