Let support staff choose union

22nd August 2003 at 01:00
YOU report that the Association of Teachers and Lecturers "may be punished for poaching members" (TES, August 8). My association has an agreement that our members can join the ATL. Many have taken this option, some leaving other unions.

Unison and GMB should be asking themselves why. I would suggest that it is because of a lack of confidence by many support staff in the backing and benefits offered by these unions.

This association has received several requests for advice recently from support staff who have been unable to obtain advice from their Unison representatives. Indeed, one Unison officer asked our member to approach the association for advice as he did not feel competent to offer it himself.

Support staff must have the same right to choose as any other employee. It is not for Unison or GMB to state they will be the only unions to represent support staff, particularly since there is an apparent lack of confidence from support staff in the ability of these unions.

Are Unison and GMB so desperate for members that they see this route as the only way?

William Simmonds

The National Bursars Association

140 Wood Street

Rugby

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