Unite secures ‘monumental’ aerospace recognition vote

Management at Scottish facility of GE Aviation had threatened to withdraw multi-million pound expansion plans if union was recognised, even though Unite is recognised at its other plants in the UK.
by - 1st June 2012, 18.11 GMT

Workers at a major aerospace plant in Ayrshire have voted in favour of union recognition, after a year-long campaign.

(Pictured: GE Caledonian workers with Unite reps and officials, Prestwick. Image courtesy of Unite)

More than half of the 750-strong workforce at the Scottish arm of the aviation engine giant, GE, voted to be represented by Unite.

The union is already recognised at the company’s other plants in the UK, but local management had rejected informal recognition demands, despite the fact that more than half of its workers were already union members.

Unite Scotland’s senior organiser Rozanne Foyer said: “This is a fantastic result achieved through the sheer hard work and perseverance of our members in GE Caledonian – it’s been a monumental effort to achieve this recognition.

“In a time of great economic uncertainty, the workforce has moved to protect and advance their terms and conditions of employment in the most effective way possible; through a recognised trade union that bargains collectively.

“Unite has long-established and positive working relationships with many employers in the industry, including other GE Aviation sites in the UK.

“We welcome the further growth of Unite within GE Aviation and look forward to continuing our proud tradition of progressive employment relations across the aviation sector.”

In a message to all staff on Friday evening, Alan Kelly, managing director at GE Caledonian, saind Unite was ‘now recognised for colletive bargaining purposes.’

He said the company would now begin working with the union to establish an agreement to that effect.

GE Caledonian is one of the largest employers in Ayrshire – and last year announced it was spending almost £9m to expand the facility.

Local management had threatened staff that a further – even larger – upgrade would be withdrawn if recognition went ahead. The company then insisted on a full ballot under the auspices of the union regulator, the CAC.

UnionNews understands that the number of workers who voted for the CAC ballot to go ahead almost exactly matched the number who voted ‘no’ to recognition.

Virtually every other worker at the site voted in favour.