Nation conference unanimously backs emergency call to use ‘all means at our disposal’ to reinstate union recognition at specialist defence company

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Prospect’s annual conference has unanimously condemned the decision by the specialist military company, QinetiQ to de-recognise trade unions.

Delegates said the union would not rest until union rights were restored.

The emergency vote at the union’s Bournemouth conference comes just three days after a first round of conciliation talks in the 3-month stand-off.

QinetiQ employs some 5,500 people in the manufacture of a range of technical military and intelligence equipment, such as sniper detectors and robots used in Afghanistan to disable roadside bombs.

It is the former military research arm of the MoD.

Officials say there has been strong support from all sections of Prospect’s membership for the QinetiQ campaign.

Conference delegates described the decision by QinetiQ as “morally repugnant” and an “attack on our core values.”

Staff at the company have accused its chief executive, Leo Quinn of basing his unilateral decision on ‘a lie’.

A recent internal survey showed 650 people in support of retaining union recognition, but no-one registering support for excluding the four unions at QinetiQ.

The conference heard that the company had given the unions no indication prior to February’s announcement that detailed plans were already in place to announce de-recognition and replace collective bargaining with an ‘Employee Engagement Group’.

Prospect’s general secretary designate, Mike Clancy said: “It is an affront to the professionalism of QinetiQ employees that the company removed the right of freedom of association and the right to conduct collective bargaining.

“Prospect will not go away. We will not end our campaign until we have achieved our objective of reinstating union recognition in QinetiQ.”

Unions at the company – GMB, PCS and Unite as well as Prospect – have accused the company of using de-recognition as a punishment for members, who rejected a pay offer last year.

QinetiQ yesterday announced a 3% boost in profits to £118.3m.

Delegates also heard that Prospect and other unions at QinetiQ have agreed to talks on recognition and collective bargaining with the company under the auspices of the conciliation service, ACAS.

National secretary David Luxton said the first meeting had taken place on May 22, with another scheduled for June.


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