12 December 2018
Workers at the Royal Albert Hall may be on the brink of having their trade union, BECTU, officially recognised by their employers.
Following years of campaigning, the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) ruled today (Wednesday 12 December) that BECTU’s Royal Albert Hall recognition application should be accepted by the Hall.The ruling, if accepted by the Royal Albert Hall, paves the way for media and entertainment union BECTU to ballot staff on whether they would welcome formal union recognition.
Despite having more than 400 employees, the Royal Albert Hall has consistently dismissed calls to recognise a union for collective bargaining.
BECTU Organising Official Naomi Taylor said: “Our members at the Royal Albert Hall have been asking for union recognition since 2014 and the members and reps have worked really hard just to get to this point.
“We’ve been in discussions with the CAC since last summer and are delighted that they have ruled that our recognition application should be accepted.
“We hope that this will encourage the Hall to enter into an agreement with BECTU, but if not, we look forward to balloting Royal Albert Hall staff so that we can demonstrate again how the staff feel about this issue.
A formal ballot through conciliation service ACAS in 2015 showed that 52% of staff were in favour of union recognition but the Hall rejected the vote, prompting BECTU to launch an appeal through the CAC. A public petition calling for union recognition at the Hall has also attracted more than 2,500 signatures.
All employees are entitled to join a trade union of their choosing, but having a recognised union brings significant benefits to staff – helping their concerns to be taken more seriously, giving them a greater say over contract changes, offering them independent guidance and support, and bringing them better pay and working conditions.
Companies with good relationships with trade unions also reap the rewards, with more motivated staff, lower turnover and higher morale. They also generally offer better pay and working conditions.
People who don’t work at the Hall but wish to support the members there, can sign the public petition here.