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Church of Scotland ends relationship with trade union

Moderator Dr Angus Morrison (centre), principal clerk George Wright (left) and Reverend Derek Browning at the Kirk's General Assembly in Edinburgh.
Moderator Dr Angus Morrison (centre), principal clerk George Wright (left) and Reverend Derek Browning at the Kirk's General Assembly in Edinburgh.

The Church of Scotland has decided to terminate a staff recognition agreement it had with the Unite trade union.

The General Assembly yesterday approved plans to stop using the organisation for collective bargaining negotiations involving workers employed by the Kirk’s central services committee.
The decision comes into effect on Monday and a staff association will be set up to represent about 230 workers instead.
The decision had been criticised by the union which pointed out that its service were needed last year when the committee walked out of collective bargaining talks and imposed a flat-rate pay award for every employee from an £80,000 budget.
Unite argued that the Church’s lowest paid workers should be the main beneficiaries of the modest pay proposals.
Union deputy Scottish secretary Mary Alexander said: “Trade union de-recognition is not the act of a progressive organisation or employer and is incompatible with a genuine social justice agenda.
“If we are to build a fairer, more equal and more just nation we need to practice what we preach.
“The Church can do this by restoring trade union recognition and collective bargaining arrangements for its staff.”
A Kirk spokesman said it had acted according to the wishes expressed by the majority of workers employed by the central services committee.
“Staff requested a ballot to decide who represented them through collective bargaining arrangements,” he added.
“Management fully involved Unite in the ballot process, giving them access to staff communications and arranged for them to address staff before the final decision.
“The majority of the 80% of staff who voted were in favour of transferring the role from Unite to a newly formed staff association.”
The spokesman said the Kirk recognised the input the Unite union has had over the years.
“Staff members of Unite can still be represented by the union on an individual basis,” he added.

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