Urgent COTA Campaign Update

Unite have received reports that some COTA companies have written to employees disclosing Unite’s membership figures. Members have told us that their employer has written to them stating that Unite has a certain percentage membership with the company.

However, we believe this is an attempt to portray union membership as low.  We are balloting a significant number of COTA workers. The employers are responding by trying to discourage members from voting YES YES on the ballot papers.

Unite is actually the largest union in the North Sea. The figures expressed by the employers in these letters represent a very small percentage of Unite’s strength under COTA in the North Sea. Not all Sodexo, Aramark, ESS, Entier or Trinity staff are covered by the COTA agreement, so expressing our membership as a percentage as some employers have done simply isn’t accurate.

Know your rights:

We’ve also had reports of some managers asking workers if they are members of a trade union. You are under no compulsion to tell them the answer, although there is no law stating that they cannot ask.

Employment Law is clear on this. You have the statutory right to join a trade union. Your employer isn’t allowed to:

  • offer you a benefit to leave a trade union
  • threaten to treat you unfairly if you don’t leave a trade union
  • refuse to employ you for trade union membership reasons
  • Dismiss you or choose your for redundancy because you are a trade union member or want to take part in trade union activities

Nor can your employer or employment agency insist that you join or leave a trade union or leave one trade union for another.

Unite has a proud record of defending those who are victimised for being union members. We always make it clear to all employers that Unite will not tolerate victimisation of our members and we will respond robustly to any further intimidations of Unite members.

Vote Yes Yes:

We’re asking member to vote YES to both questions on the ballot paper. This will put us in the strongest possible position to demand that the employers come back to the table to discuss implementing our pay deal. If we are not prepared to say that we will take industrial action then our message to the COTA companies is weakened.

Only by voting YES/YES can we send a clear strong and united message to the COTA companies that cutting our pay is absolutely not acceptable.”


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