QinetiQ:Union buster

MOD contractor accused of union busting by unions

QinetiQ, the privatised company that provides scientific and technical backup to the Ministry of Defence, has been accused of union-busting, after its announcement today that it is terminating recognition with all its trade unions with effect from 31 March.

Mike Clancy, Prospect deputy general secretary representing scientists and engineers in QinetiQ said: “The decision by Leo Quinn, chief executive of QinetiQ, to terminate union recognition is nothing more than crude union-busting.

“Unions in QinetiQ have always engaged constructively with the company on difficult issues such as redundancy terms and pension changes, yet are now being forcibly ejected from the company because union members voted against a controversial pay offer last year.

“It is clear that the chief executive wishes to neutralise any challenges to employment conditions allowing the company to drive through changes to established terms and conditions of employment without any union moderation or consultation.

“QinetiQ will now stand out as the only major MOD contractor that has removed the right of its employees to be collectively represented by independent trade unions. In the past the company has been happy to consult and seek our agreement on the tough issues it has faced. We will campaign vigorously to maintain the union voice at the company. QinetiQ should listen to its staff. There has been no call for de-recognition from them.”

Rehana Azam GMB national officer said: "Over the course of the last few months unions have engaged effectively and positively to offer possible solutions to the company. Despite our best efforts the decision to de-recognise was pre-determined, which is extremely disappointing and certainly doesn't fit with QinetiQ's motto: 'Making tomorrow work today.’ Most employers in a modern labour market recognise the value of trade union representation in workplaces.

“That is why the decision by QinetiQ to de-recognise is premature. GMB takes union busting extremely seriously and will not stand buy and allow any employer to union bust. We understand QinetiQ employed private consultants to carry out focus groups on employer and employee engagement at a cost not disclosed to unions.

“The thousands of union members at Qinetiq will continue to be supported by their unions going forward and the unions will be meeting on Thursday to set out how best this will be achieved. I have strongly urged QinetiQ to reconsider their decison."

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: "Unite will not take this lying down. QinetiQ workers want union recognition and they will fight to retain it. We will support our members all the way in this struggle and will pull out all the stops to ensure that QinetiQ, or any other company thinking of trying the same thing, backs down.

“For our members this is vitally important as they know that without the union in their workplace, their employer will be able to dictate terms and conditions - this is clearly unacceptable. Unite will be calling a meeting of all reps to discuss how we can defend these long-standing agreements and ensure union recognition remains.”