Unions target Midland in recognition battle

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The Independent Online
MIDLAND Bank is being targeted by the labour movement for a high profile campaign on union recognition ahead of a law on bargaining rights.

The Banking Insurance and Finance Union believes it has a watertight case for the restoration of a negotiating agreement on behalf of 9,000 junior and middle managers and has had talks with management on the issue.

Although the Government's White Paper on Fairness at Work is unlikely to be translated into law until next year, the union wants to strike a voluntary deal with the bank.

Already more then 100 MPs have signed an early day motion condemning the bank for its "dictatorial" decision 18 months ago to withdraw recognition for managers. The motion deplores the "denial of individual and collective trade union representation on behalf of employees, particularly against a background of bank profits which has risen by 28 per cent to pounds 1,625m".

The MPs said "a dictatorial management culture had no basis for developing a commitment to partnership as a basis for corporate success in the future" and urge the bank to adopt a policy of co-operation rather then confrontation.

The union says more then half the managers are members and it would have little difficulty in winning a ballot on recognition.

A spokeswoman for the bank pointed out that clerical and administration staff still enjoyed full union negotiating rights. When the decision was taken less then half the managers were union members. Midland had set up a structure of consultative councils where elected representatives met senior managers.

The CBI has urged that more then half of the total workforce should have to opt for union bargaining rights before they were granted. The TUC believes it should be if half of those voting.