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17/12/2002

BECTU agree ballot rules with BSkyB

BECTU have announced that a vote on union recognition at a BSkyB call centre is likely to start in January.
BECTU and BSkyB management have agreed to ground rules for the ballot, which identify the staff at the Livingston call centre who will vote, and lay out a procedure for union and employer to put their respective points of view to the workforce.
The secret ballot will be conducted among BSkyB staff working in Livingston's sales department, where BECTU has demonstrated sufficient membership to trigger a union recognition ballot.
Although BSkyB declined an invitation to recognise BECTU voluntarily, the union and management have mutually agreed to the ballot procedure without having to refer back to the government-appointed Central Arbitration Council (CAC), which oversees cases where employers contest claims for union recognition.
If no agreement had been reached on the range of staff to be balloted, in industrial relations terms the "bargaining unit," then the CAC would have adjudicated after hearing arguments from union and management.
Instead, BSkyB and BECTU have agreed that Livingston sales staff represent a bargaining unit, and, once the date for a secret ballot has been fixed, there will be a formula for union and management to have access to the staff involved in the vote.
Under the terms of what the union describe as "the voluntary agreement" struck between BECTU and BSkyB, both parties have promised to avoid negative campaigning against each other, and any hostile comments made during the earlier recognition campaign will be withdrawn. It is understood that this agreement has led to BECTU editing a number of items on the union's website.
BECTU is hoping that the secret ballot on union recognition will begin before the end of January 2003.
(SP)
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