Dear DA,

There’s a new threat to workers organisation stalking the British labour relations scene. Employers are increasingly turning to U.S. style management consultants that “specialise in union avoidance and preventative industrial labour relations”. At least, that’s how the Burke Group describes itself. The Omega Division, an arm of Burke, was last year called in by Lion Capital, owner of Kettle Foods, in its attempt to prevent the T&G/ Unite from organising workers at its Norwich plant. The Burke Group has also been consulted by T-mobile and Virgin Atlantic.

Another name in the business is law firm, Pinsent Mason, which has been widely consulted by British universities in their efforts to undermine the unions. This has come to a head at Notting-ham Trent University which has derecognised the campus trade unions and brought in new “employee forums”.* This looks likely to lead to strike action, and managers throughout education and beyond will be watching and waiting.

See: for further information.

Jan, Nottingham

* See latest issue of Education Worker

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