Union hands in ‘recognition agreement’ and promises to escalate dispute

Alastair Robinson and Darren Cowey handing over letters of protest during one of the recent demonstrations held by Unite at Maydown Precision Engineering.
Alastair Robinson and Darren Cowey handing over letters of protest during one of the recent demonstrations held by Unite at Maydown Precision Engineering.

Unite activists and former Maydown employees have gathered at the gates of Maydown Precision Engineering to leave a copy of a recognition agreement marked for the attention of Schivo Chief Executive, Seamus Kilgallon.

Union officer with responsibility for Unite’s membership in MPE, Gareth Scott, indicated that he hoped that management would now engage positively with the union.

He said: “Maydown Precision Engineering management has disregarded the terms of our collective bargaining agreement by refusing to engage with Unite over the TUPE transfer of the workforce to Schivo. They have proceeded to make compulsory redundancies among the core workforce and continue to withhold approximately £10,000 in union dues collected from our members via a payroll ‘check-off’ arrangement.

“Following protests demonstrating the high levels of public support for the workers, management have sought to deny the existence of a recognition agreement telling the media saying that ‘Schivo has not breached any agreement with the Unite trade union…there was no such agreement in place between any union and the previously name MPE company that Schivo acquired’.

“Today, union members who have recently lost their jobs at Maydown will leave a photocopy of the signed 1985 Recognition Agreement. If this is not enough to jog management’s memory, we are providing selections from the current (2010) staff handbook which acknowledges the union’s collective bargaining role. Both these documents remain in force despite management’s spin and attempts to ignore their responsibility under the agreement to engage with the union over job-losses or transfer.

“Unite hopes that once Schivo management’s memory of the existence of this agreement has been refreshed, they will reverse their approach and engage positively with us in relation to the concerns of the Maydown workforce. In the meantime we will be challenging their behaviour both through legal means and through escalating our campaign of solidarity with workers”, Mr Scott concluded.