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Union(s) Involved: (1) IUF, (2) BFAWU, (3) T&G
Profile of Union:
(1) The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF) is an international federation of trade unions representing workers employed in agriculture and plantations, the preparation and manufacture of food and beverages, hotels, restaurants and catering services and all stages of tobacco processing. The IUF currently has 336 trade unions in 120 countries representing a combined membership of over 12 million workers. It is based in Geneva, Switzerland. Its membership was largely European up until after World War II when it expanded to reach countries in the rest of the world. Following the merger of the previously existing international federations for bakery, brewery and meat workers in 1920, when it was known as the International Union of Food and Drink Workers, the IUF was formed. The issues that the IUF are currently dealing with are the assisting of affiliates to strengthen member unions and it also aims to promote women's equality at the workplace, in society and in the trade union movement whilst providing trade union education programs to help build the strength and independence of affiliated unions.
(2) The BFAWU (Bakers, Food & Allied Workers Union) was first formed in 1847 in Manchester, as a group of Journeymen Bakers came together to improve wages and living standards. The following year this group expanded in to a national organisation and it now has approximately 25, 823 members.
Over the years the Union has grown in numbers and strength, as well as gathering experience in assisting and protecting workers. It remains a food-based Union, operating and specialising in its own trade.
(3) T&G (Transport and General Workers' Union) was founded in 1922 and currently has 835, 000 members in every type of workplace and is considered to be the UK's biggest general union with the majority of its efforts being directed towards winning the best possible pay and conditions for its members. The T&G is the largest food union in the UK. It is the only agricultural workers' union in the UK, the largest brewery union and the second largest tobacco union. Within this sector there are over 110, 000 members which work in food processing, horticulture, tobacco, breweries and the retail food industry. The food, drink and tobacco trade group has over 90,000 members. The T&G aims to improve the British Food Industry's poor safety record of high levels of trips, slips and falls.
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Industry/Service: Railway Industry
Union(s) Involved: (1) RMT, (2) TSSA, (3) ASLEF
Profile of Union:
(1) RMT (The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers) is an independent and democratic industrial trade union which is the largest specialist transport trade union.
RMT has around 70,000 members including workers from the rail, shipping, road and associated industries.
The issues and aims of this workers union are to protect and promote members' interests by negotiating and campaigning to improve pay and conditions, encouraging employers to adopt best practice in relation to Equal Opportunities and ensuring health and safety is prioritised in the work place. Also advancing policies, through political and industrial influence, are in order to promote better public transport whilst delivering high-quality and cost-effective services.
(2) TSSA (Transport Salaried Staffs' Association) has members ranging from highly skilled engineers and senior managers to booking office staff and call centre workers.
TSSA was founded in 1897 and represents 33,000 administrative, managerial, professional and technical workers in the railway, London Underground, the travel trade, ports and ferries.
TSSA is committed to expanding its membership and is currently running a major campaign to unionise travel agents. TSSA works with employers to produce better, fairer and more productive working conditions.
(3) ASLEF (Associated Society of Locomotive Steam Enginemen and Firemen) was founded in 1880 and is Britain's trade union for train drivers. Its 18,500 members are employed in the train operating companies, the freight companies, London Underground and some Light Rapid Transport.
ASLEF also has a retired members section and three consultative committees representing members who are women, black and ethnic and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. It is also affiliated to the Trades Union Congress and to the Labour Party.
Banking and Finance
Within the banking and finance union we have AMICUS-UNIFI which is the largest manufacturing union in the United Kingdom, with over one million members in the public and private sectors
The history of AMICUS-UNIFI's union movement has been punctuated by mergers in which smaller and more specialised unions come together to combine their resources and increase their bargaining power. The merger between the AEEU and MSF to create Amicus is the latest in this chain of amalgamations, which has been followed most recently with mergers with Unifi and the GPMU
AMICUS-UNIFI strives to ensure that they serve there members as completely and successfully as possible at all times and in a variety of situations. They offer a wide range of services to members, from representation through representatives in the workplace and free legal advice to consumer benefits such as reduced rates on mortgages and insurance.
AMICUS-UNIFI provides briefing and support across the union on a wide range of issues. This includes bargaining information, policy papers, legal and regulatory summaries, leaflets about rights at work, and updates about the finance sector and the world of work generally.
The department has contact with many other organisations including other unions, academic institutions, think tanks and government departments.
AMICUS-UNIFI also produce a number of publications and promote the union's work in a variety of contexts Recent projects and campaigns include workplace stress, equal pay, financial capability, "Choices for Change" in Lloyds TSB, Drugs and alcohol policy and the impact of globalisation on UK financial services.
Recent issues AMICUS-UNIFI have campaigned on are the issue of gender discrimination and amicus was quoted as saying
"The AMICUS-UNIFI Finance sector is committed to addressing the causes of the gender pay gap. It is clearly unacceptable to Amicus that the sector has a 43% pay gap that is larger then any other sector".
AMICUS-UNIFI is also addressing the issue of mergers and takeovers as they have a major impact within the finance sector, resulting in job-losses and increased pressure of work for those that remain with a company, and often a sense of insecurity for employees. The merger of Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest Bank was accompanied by the loss of some 18 000 jobs, the merger of Woolwich and Barclays cost in the region of 1000 job losses, the merger of Lloyds and TSB was followed by 16,000 job losses, with a further 9000 losses if the proposed merger with Abbey National proceeds.
ACCORD is the only union exclusively dedicated to employees of the HBOS Group. ACCORD has over 25,000 members in HBOS. It is funded only by their subscriptions and is not affiliated to any political party
They aim to be there members' best friend in the increasingly uncertain world of work. They support individual members who experience difficulties at work, providing confidential, professional advice on any work-related issue like job protection, career progression and fair rewards for the work that you do. They also help with the difficult issues that are faced such as unfair treatment, discrimination or harassment. Additionally ACCORD claim to have been able to use there bargaining strength to negotiate a variety of benefits which make subscriptions even better value. These include: Free Personal Accident Insurance, Free 24 hour legal helpline for members and their families, Commission cashback schemes, Travel clubs and Discount shopping schemes
They currently claim to be campaigning on the issues of:
Security of Employment - Ensuring that your job is protected.
Fair Reward - Ensuring that you are rewarded fairly for the work that you do and that, annually, your Total Reward package is a fair balance of pay rise, share options, bonus and pension.
Dignity at Work - Ensuring that your working life is balanced with your personal time or home life, and that work issues such as stress and aggressive customers don't affect your day-to-day role.
Equality - Actively opposing all forms of harassment, prejudice and unfair discrimination whether on the grounds of sex, race, ethnic or national origin, religion, colour, class, caring responsibilities, marital status, sexuality, disability, age, or other status or personal characteristic.
Communication Workers Union (CWU)
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) is the biggest union for the communications industry in the UK with 250,000 members. It was formed in January 1995 when the Union of Communication Workers joined forces with the National Communications Union.
The union is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress, the Scottish Trades Union Congress, the Wales TUC, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the Labour Party, the Communications International and other organisations as determined by annual conference.
CWU members work in the Post Office, BT and other telephone companies, cable TV, Accenture HR Services, the Alliance and Leicester and Girobank. Our members' expertise includes engineering, computing, clerical, mechanical, driving, retail, financial and manual skills.
The CWU aims: to provide first class collective and individual representation for all CWU members; to achieve security of employment for all members; to offer individual membership services of the highest quality; to expand trade union membership throughout the communications industry; to promote, by industrial and political means the success of the industries in which our members work; to campaign against all forms of discrimination and to further these objectives by promoting the influence of the union throughout the national and international community.
The union's main campaigning priorities have been aimed at securing:
universal access to the social and individual benefits of the most advanced information superhighway for the UK - which will give all our society the ability to benefit from our latest technology; a modern communications network which will guarantee a buoyant financial and commercial infrastructure for the UK.
Within these objectives, the union aims to ensure not only the provision of efficient, integrated and affordable communication services for the UK - but also safe, secure and well rewarded employment for all CWU members.
Its past victories include after a one-day strike last year by CWU members BT has committed itself to developing best practices in the industry for its call centres.
Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW)
USDAW is one of Britain's largest trade unions with over 341,000 members nationwide.
USDAW members work in a variety of occupations and industries including: shop workers, factory and warehouse workers, drivers, call centres, clerical workers, insurance agents, milk round and dairy process, butchers and meat packers, catering, laundries, chemical processing, home shopping and pharmaceutical.
USDAW expects the number of recognition agreements in call centres to increase following the Government's new trade union laws. The union has 10,000 members in its home shopping call centre division. The union's recognition helps avoid the worst problems of call centre life, says USDAW's Peter Rees-Farrell. "Horror stories about the sector are invariably associated with an unorganised workforce".
A recent issue that Usdaw is currently campaigning on is that of competition from Indian call centres were it costs less for firms to process calls in India than it does in the UK. Usdaw reported its members had discovered calls were being diverted to Asia and were angry they were not told first.
Val Pugh, Usdaw national officer also was quoted saying:
"Until we get a job security agreement our members won't believe the company when they say the use of Indian call centres will not be at the expense of their jobs."
"The union has held mass meetings across the North West over the last few days and the company should not underestimate the strength of feeling over this issue. Our members are very angry."