Vodafone Forced to ‘Connect’

Following months of talks Vodafone workers are now celebrating, following a legal ruling that means the company must recognise communications union Connect.
It will be the first time that a union has been recognised by Vodafone in the UK. Vodafone staff have been calling for a union to give them a stronger voice at work.

The decision covers workers responsible for keeping the company’s network running across the Midlands, North of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Connect, which represents 20,000 people working in the telecommunications and IT sector, has over half of the 200 staff at Voda’s Regional Operations North as members.

The announcement follows months of talks between the union and Vodafone in the hope of finding an agreement on recognition. However, Vodafone resisted throughout the process, and Connect applied for legally enforced recognition.

Back in March a Vodafone spokperson said: ‘Vodafone values open and direct communication with employees, but does not believe that the most effective way of ensuring this is via external third-party representation.’

The decision means that Vodafone must now consult with Connect on the pay, hours and holidays of the affected workers.

The union has also submitted a further claim for recognition that would cover similar workers in the South of England.

Connect’s General Secretary, Adrian Askew, said:

"This is a landmark victory for our members in Vodafone, and it is a tribute to how they have come together to demand a say in their working lives.

"Vodafone workers are calling loud and clear for a voice at work that is independent and professional. Our membership growth in the company has shown that even in the biggest of blue-chip companies, employees understand that trade unions are still the only way to secure a truly independent voice.

"The hard work now lies ahead of us, representing our members and influencing the decisions that affect them. We look forward to building a constructive and forward looking relationship with the company, and demonstrating the long-term benefits that come from having a union voice at the table.

"Our membership in Vodafone is going from strength to strength and Connect will continue to look for new opportunities to ensure that all our members are heard by Vodafone management."