Many new employees won’t have ever had to take any form of industrial action. We normally manage to resolve issues before we get to the point of the ballot process. It’s been around 12 years since we last withdrew our labour.
Normally both the employer and employee representatives (the CWU in this case) negotiate and reach an amicable position that can be put the members for that position to be ratified (agreed) by the members. We have a great set of negotiators who normally always get a proposal that can be put to the members.
What happens if agreement can’t be reached?
Both parties RMG & CWU enter the DRP (dispute resolution process) which is covered off in our legally binding agreement for a period of four weeks.
So, what happens if there’s still no agreement?
Then, in that case, both sides need to reveal their plans and decide on their next moves.
Will that mean we will be on strike then?
No. we need to take part in an industrial action ballot, explaining what the ballot is for (example; pay deal dispute) and the type of action we are willing to take. That ballot will have a time frame and after the ballot closes, we will know whether the membership has agreed to the form of industrial action that was mentioned on the ballot paper.
How many need to agree to the industrial action?
Legally there are thresholds that need to be met. The thresholds are in statute. At least 50% of those who can vote must vote. If the number is above the 50% then the amount of YES to take industrial action is above 50&% then the members have agreed to the industrial action.
Is there a definition of what industrial action is?
The legal definition of a strike in the Employment Relations Act 1996 is:
“(a) the cessation of work by a body of employed persons acting in combination, or (b) a concerted refusal, or a refusal under a common understanding, of any number of employed persons to continue to work for an employer in consequence of a dispute, done as a means of compelling their employer or any employed person or body of employed persons, or to aid other employees in compelling their employer or any employed person or body of employed persons, to accept or not to accept terms or conditions of or affecting employment.”
Will there or is there need for the action to happen or take place?
Lots of times, the YES vote focuses the minds of negotiators & intense talks happen in hope of find swift resolution. We need to remember that industrial action is the point where we feel there is no place to go other than withdraw our labour.
How long will we be on strike?
That really depends on how the talks are going. If they are going well, the action may be postponed letting the talks happen & possibly conclude. If we are informed, we are close to a deal and that any action may scupper that proposed deal, it may mean the action is suspended.
I’m not a union member. Can I still take strike action?
Yes. It’s always better to be part of the/a trade union. Collective bargaining is key to swift decisions and agreements happening. However, your conscience is yours and yours alone. If you feel strongly enough to support those losing money to protect your terms & conditions as well as look for enhancements going forward, you can stand with your colleagues.
I can’t afford to strike. What do I do?
In the dispute we are facing, it seems impossible not to act. We are in a position where the offer that’s on the table is zero %. We need to agree to a whole load of strings to get an amount that in real terms is a pittance. The 2% is only to be given (backdated to April 2022) if we agree to the additional impositions that RMG want to add on. We will then be given an additional 1.5% (not backdated) when those strings are deployed. So, in essence, we need to agree a raft of change before any pay increase will be given. Inflation (according to the Bank of England) will reach 10% in the coming year, NI contributions have increased by 1.25% (your pay will be reflective of this), your household bills have increased by circa 54%, your food bills, clothing the family, filling the car are all bills that have increased massively, well above 2%. If we accept that this is the best we can get, then we be as well accepting the offer. BUT in doing that you will be accepting less than we are fighting for.
So, are we being told to vote to strike?
What you are being told is you cannot afford not to.
If we or you decide that the CWU are wrong in what they are doing, fighting against a set of strings that are unacceptable, fighting against a pittance of a pay rise, protecting those that follow as those who went before us protected us, job security, make sure the job is achievable and make sure the environment we work is safe & we have the tools for the job then back the company.
However, if you feel that you are right, the executive is right, the membership is right in demanding a pay deal with no strings then YOU must vote YES.