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Coventry staff win fight for union recognition

19 September 2016 | last updated: 28 September 2016

Staff working at one of Coventry University's subsidiary companies now finally have the right to be represented collectively by a trade union.

Seventy teachers delivering English language courses for international students at CU Services Ltd can now be represented by UCU after the union satisfied the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) - the body who rules on these matters - that the majority of staff backed the move. 

Because CU Services Ltd did not recognise UCU, teachers at the company did not have access to collective bargaining, unlike their colleagues at Coventry University. Statistics show that public sector staff in unionised workplaces earn 21.6% more than those in non-unionised ones.

In a vote* held by the CAC following the union's application for recognition, all the staff who voted (100%) voted in favour of recognition, on a turnout of 73%. The CAC has written to both the union and CU Services Ltd informing both parties that UCU is now recognised to negotiate for staff at CU Services Ltd.

UCU head of higher education, Paul Bridge, said: 'We are very pleased that these staff have finally got the recognition they have fought for. The remarkable size of the vote in favour is a testament to their determination and recognition of the positive work unions do. We believe that all staff in higher education should have access to the benefits that collective bargaining brings.

'We look forward to building positive industrial relations with CU Services Ltd and we hope that this can mark a new chapter in industrial relations between the union and all Coventry University's subsidiary companies.'

Where employers are unwilling to agree to recognise unions voluntarily, unions have the right to recognition provided they can show the Central Arbitration Committee that a majority support them.

Coventry University has several subsidiary companies which deliver higher education, including CU Services Ltd, Coventry University College and Coventry University London Campus. Until now, none recognised UCU for collective bargaining.

* 70 ballots were issued. 51 votes were cast. All 51 votes were in favour of UCU being recognised to negotiate for CU Services Ltd staff.