Arsenal has this week taken the decision to recognise GMB Union for their 40 workers employed to perform security roles for the club, in a move praised by the Union. The GMB is hoping other clubs will follow suit.
Trade unionism for footballers is nothing new, in fact British professional football offers one of the most successful examples of modern trade unionism.
The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) is the only trade union in the country to have 100% membership, and its principle success lies in its remarkable collective bargaining agreement, which applies to all professional footballers. It offers players numerous protections, including sickness arrangements, insurance in case of injury, post-retirement obligations and disciplinary proceedings.
However, it is important to note that footballers only represent the highest paid employees of a football club, while ground staff, coaches, security staff and so on are not usually members of the PFA and often there is no recognised trade union for these staff. GMB, the union for workers in the security industry, has today praised Arsenal Football Club for taking the decision to formally recognise GMB Union for their 40 workers employed to perform security roles for the club.
Arsenal Football Club said in a statement:
“We are committed to working in partnership with the GMB in the best interests of the Club and the Security Team.”
Paul Meddes, GMB London Region Organiser, described it as a ‘great decision’ adding:
“We are delighted that Arsenal FC has signed a recognition agreement with GMB London, the security staff will now be getting full bargaining rights and with reps who are elected by the membership, GMB will provide full support for these members.
“We would like to thank the club for their time and commitment negotiating with GMB to arrive at the point of recognition with GMB union.
“GMB London also wishes to thank Tina Whitehead, Senior Advisor at the arbitration and conciliation service ACAS for her for her grateful assistance to achieve a resolution and for facilitating meetings between GMB and Arsenal FC.
“Using digital technology negotiating with Arsenal FC has been taking place since March but regardless of the communication restrictions imposed because of the pandemic we have embraced the use of digital meetings to successfully facilitate these important meetings.”
“GMB London is calling on other football clubs in London and the East of England to note this significant agreement and follow Arsenal FC’s commitment to work with unions for the benefit of both club workforces, and the clubs as employers.”