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31/10/2002

BSkyB to oppose BECTU recognition bid

BSkyB have warned they will resist BECTU's legal effort to win bargaining rights.
The satellite broadcaster are planning to challenge the union's application for full recognition at their call centres, lodged after a two-year campaign by BECTU.
In a submission BSkyB plan to present to the Central Arbitration Council (CAC), the government body which awards bargaining rights to unions, BSkyB will argue that the call centres are just part of a single workforce which spans all 8,000 employees across the UK.
Under new labour laws, BECTU have called for call centre staff to be balloted over union recognition on the ground that at least 10% of them (the legal threshold for an automatic ballot) are union members. The union's claim is backed by a petition of staff in which more than 50% called for BECTU to represent them.
BSkyB's blocking move is intended to prevent any ballot on union recognition until the union has at least 10% of all 8,000 staff in membership.
BECTU will argue that the call centres in Dunfermline and Livingston are separately managed from the broadcasting production and operations centre in Osterley, West London, and should therefore be treated as a separate bargaining unit for the purpose of union recognition.
Officials at the CAC are expected to convene a formal hearing after reviewing submissions from BECTU and BSkyB.
The legal recognition process is laid out in the Employment Relations Act, introduced by the Labour government.
(GB)
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