The Communication Workers Union (CWU) is angered at what it describes as “the irresponsible decision taken by Cable & Wireless to engage in the services of the notorious American firm of ‘union busters’, The Burke Group”.
The CWU is currently seeking recognition in Cable & Wireless’s 330 strong British field services workforce, and is due to present its case to the Central Arbitration Committee next week.
Peter Morris, CWU telecoms organising manager, said, “We are shocked that a company with the international profile and prestige as Cable & Wireless should employ such an organisation.”
He points out that The Burke Group call themselves “union avoidance specialists” but “are more commonly referred to as ‘union busters’.”
Peter goes on to question a previous statement by Cable & Wireless in which the firm denied that it was determined to keep the union out at all costs.
This latest controversial move by Cable & Wireless follows on from the company’s highly charged annual general meeting last month.
Significant numbers of investors voted at the meeting against a proposal to remove a £20 million cap on an incentive scheme for Cable & Wireless executives, as well as opposing a further proposal to make chairman Richard Lapthorne eligible for up to £11 million in a share based perks scheme.
CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said, “The CWU remains keen to build a positive working relationship with Cable & Wireless, but the decision to use The Burke Group can only make us think that the company remains inveterately hostile to our union. We urge the business to dispense with the services of The Burke Group.”