Union launches legal challenge at Runcorn plant

Union launches legal challenge at Runcorn plant

Prospect, the union for professionals, specialists and engineers in the power generation and distribution industries, is using legal powers to ballot members at a Runcorn power station over union recognition after management refused to enter into a voluntary agreement.

The union is using the legal framework set out by the Central Arbitration Committee to press for recognition at the Rocksavage Power Station, a combined cycle gas turbine that provides energy for ICI at Runcorn in the North West of England.

Despite numerous requests, Rocksavage’s management have declined to enter into a voluntary recognition agreement with Prospect, which already counts 24 of the 29 employees outside the senior management team as members. Management dispute that there is support among the staff for a recognition agreement for the purposes of collective bargaining and consultation.

All 28 members of staff within the proposed bargaining unit will now be balloted by the Central Arbitration Committee between October 10-23. A vote in favour will mean Prospect must be recognised by the employer for the purposes of consultation and collective bargaining.

Prospect negotiator Jez Stewart said: "This is the first time that Prospect has had to use the legal framework. We are extremely confident of success given the high level of membership within Rocksavage and our understanding that those members want union recognition.

"We firmly believe that collective recognition is in the interests of the Rocksavage staff. It will give them a say on important issues such as terms and conditions, health and safety, pensions and provide them with expert support at their workplace.

"We have been disappointed with management’s stance. We have no wish to undermine the business interests of the plant but simply to secure the best we can for our members and to maintain their job security. I sincerely hope that once recognition is secured we can develop a productive working relationship with Rocksavage."