Recognition, Carlisle Cleaning and Support Services (all contracts)

Circular from Bob Crow, RMT General Secretary ...

Earlier this year I wrote to Carlisle Cleaning & Support Services expressing my utmost concern over the company’s assertion that the RMT only had direct bargaining and recognition rights for three Carlisle Cleaning and Support Contracts, namely Eurostar, London Midland and Alstom/West Coast.

As you may be aware, the RMT has full recognition and negotiating rights for all members on all contracts deriving from our existing arrangements with the LI Group Ltd which was signed by Roy Cave, Divisional Director of LI Group Ltd on the 19th November 2002. A copy of the full agreement was forwarded to Carlisle Cleaning Services together with a request for the company’s written assurances that full recognition would apply on all contracts within the transport sector.

Furthermore, the RMT sought information from the company in accordance with Section 181 of the Trade Union & Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 which states ‘employers have a duty to disclose to representatives of independent recognised unions information, without which representatives would be impeded in carrying out collective bargaining or which in accordance with good industrial relations practice should be disclosed.’

Despite the Union’s continuous efforts in achieving these aims the company made it abundantly clear that they do not recognise the RMT for negotiating purposes on any of their contracts other than the Eurostar contract and refused to provide the requested information claiming it was ‘commercially sensitive.’

As a result of the company’s failure to disclose information to the Union for the purposes of collective bargaining, the RMT submitted a complaint to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) under Section 183 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. The specific items requested by the RMT from Carlisle Cleaning Services were as follows:

1) A complete list of pay scales for each of the respective grades employed within either/all of the respective depots, including turn around cleaners, on board cleaners and in transit cleaners.

2) A complete breakdown of the numbers employed within each of the respective grades employed within either/all of the respective depots, including turn around cleaners, on board cleaners and in transit cleaners.

3) A complete breakdown of the fringe benefits available to the respective staff covered within points (1) and (2) above.

In accordance with the above, I can now inform you that despite Carlisle Cleaning Services claiming the RMT are not recognised for negotiating purposes and despite the company’s refusal to disclose the requested information, the CAC panel has today unanimously decided that “in light of the available evidence and on the balance of probabilities, the panel decides as follows:

The Union is recognised by the Employer for the purposes of collective bargaining about matters and in relation to descriptions of workers, in respect of which it has sought information from the Employer under Section 181(1) of the Act.”

As you will no doubt agree, this is an historic decision taken by the CAC and a magnificent victory for the RMT and all our members concerned.

Best wishes.

Yours sincerely

Bob Crow
General Secretary