TUC: Hit-list threat to firms that ban unions

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ONE OF Britain's biggest unions has drawn up a hit-list of companies with "bad bosses" where workers will be offered six months' free membership.

Bill Morris, leader of the Transport and General Workers' Union, said directors at the selected firms would be offered "one last chance" to allow their employees to join his organisation before they would be "named and shamed".

Mr Morris said management at the companies concerned had engaged in tactics that frustrated the right of working people to join the union - something that was unlawful under existing legislation.

However, the initiative was also seeking to take advantage of a law on union recognition that would come into force next year. The companies on the list have either withdrawn union recognition or have refused to bargain with the T&G despite a large membership.

To boost the recruitment process, Mr Morris said his union would forgo subscriptions for six months. "We are determined that the full benefit of trade unionism goes to all who want to be members. We are determined that there will be no union-free workplace in Britain."

The recent "Fairness at Work" White Paper proposes awarding recognition to unions where the employees vote for it or where they can prove they have half the workforce in membership.

In anticipation of the law ADT, the security alarm company, has agreed to allow a ballot of its 1,800 technicians to discover whether they want the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union recognised.

Ken Jackson, leader of the union, said the AEEUhad been recognised for more than 20 years at Thorn Security, one of the companies involved in a merger that formed ADT. "We are keen to work in a productive partnership with the company in the interests of our members and the company as a whole," Mr Jackson said.

The Manufacturing, Science, Finance union is also organising a recognition ballot among 400 employees at Machine Mart, a plant hire company with 24 depots around the country.

The moves follow a challenge from Ian McCartney, Trade minister, to stop "whingeing" about the White Paper and go out and recruit members.