The GCHQ Union Ban 1984-1997: the unions' strategy and the outcome

Corby, Susan
December 2000
Labour History Review (Maney Publishing);Winter2000, Vol. 65 Issue 3, p317
Academic Journal
This article examines the strategy adopted by British labor unions to reverse a 1984 ban on trade union membership at Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). There were at that time six civil service unions with members at GCHQ and when the ban was proposed, they acted together nationally under the Council of Civil Service Unions (CCSU). First they negotiated with the government, seeking to persuade it to drop its proposal, but these negotiations failed after a few weeks. Second, they tried to stop members signing away their union rights. Although the CCSU guaranteed to make up the take-home pay and pension for anyone dismissed from GCHQ for being a union member shortly before the ban was imposed, less than 200 out of 7,000 staff refused to relinquish their union rights. Of these some took early retirement, others found jobs outside the civil service or were transferred to another part of the civil service and 14 were eventually dismissed in 1988/89.


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