Are the Samaritans De-Recognising Unite?

Unite logo
Unite logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have seen two conflicting statements today around the issue of the Samaritans and their relationship with Unite the Union.

Unite is claiming that the Samaritans are de-reconising the union, maybe a a prelude to changes to terms and conditions etc. They have issued this statement:

Problem for Samaritans – derecognising Unite
24 July 2013

Samaritans, the charity that has helped people with their problems for 60 years, has a problem of its own – it has derecognised Unite as the union representing its staff.

Samaritans has recognised the right of the workforce to have an independent trade union and elect representatives for many years, however the charity has recently reneged on this agreement, claiming that ‘the agreement does not reflect the nature of our working relationship’.

Unite regional officer Jamie Major said “I would strongly urge Samaritans to reconsider its position. This act of derecognition goes totally against the ethos of Samaritans.

“It is highly suspicious that Unite was informed that management wants to make sweeping changes to policies and procedures, and then derecognised the rights of staff to have an independent trade union in the same breath.

“This is a worrying development for the 110-strong workforce. I would urge them to stand together to ensure they retain an independent voice at Samaritans.

“As management no longer recognise our agreement, we have no other option but to consult our members working at Samaritans about the action they are prepared to take in response.

“Industrial action will obviously be one of the options we will be discussing, if management refuses to negotiate.”

Samaritans is a national charity and the coordinating body for the 201 Samaritans’ branches in the UK, the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. It was founded in 1953.


I posted a tweet about this and JoeFerns_Samaritans @Ferns_Joe tweeted back on behalf of the Samaritans stating that they hadn’t de-recognised Unite. Their statement is here:

Samaritans statement regarding UNITE the Union

Wednesday 24th July 2013
Catherine Johnstone, Chief Executive of Samaritans, said:

“We are very disappointed that Unite have come out today and announced that Samaritans has ‘de-recognised the Union’.

“It is surprising to us that this statement has been issued as it is our impression that we have been working together working with Unite in order to put in place an appropriate new Voluntary Recognition Agreement that accurately reflects the needs of the organisation in the context of the number of staff that are members of the Union, which we believe to be quite low.

“Samaritans believes it is important that all staff are treated fairly and equally and have had membership with a union since 2005.”

Tis a mystery but why go for a Voluntary Recognition Agreement when you already have what I assume is a statutory agreement does seem a bit fishy.

Authored by Chris Hall

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