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Staff protest at Coventry University over 'sham union' dirty tricks

17 April 2018

Staff at the Coventry University Group will take part in a rally on Wednesday over the use of a 'sham union' to deny employees proper trade union representation.

The rally will begin at 1pm at the Graham Sutherland Building on Cox Street in Coventry, with speakers including University and College Union (UCU) vice-president Douglas Chalmers and Darrall Cozens from the Coventry Trade Union Council.

The row centres on attempts by staff at the Coventry University Group - a subsidiary company of Coventry University - to win trade union recognition. The company has set up a sham trade union - the Staff Consultative Group - and signed a recognition agreement with it. A loophole in trade union law means that UCU cannot apply to represent the staff affected.

UCU says Coventry is using dirty tricks to deny its staff their rights and that it will call for an academic boycott of the university if bosses do not stop their underhand tactics.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: 'These shameful dirty tricks by the Coventry University Group are designed to deny staff their right to proper, independent trade union representation.  

'Staff have made it quite clear that they want to be represented by UCU. The management needs to respect the wishes of staff by scrapping the sham union, confirming they will recognise UCU now and granting the union proper negotiating rights. If Coventry's approach does not change it risks an academic boycott with UCU members refusing to work or collaborate with the university and its subsidiary companies.'

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