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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

GMB Forces AA To Concede That All AA Employees Have A Legal Right To Be Represented By GMB At Meetings Dealing With Problems At Work

Members should be properly represented within the AA and we have no fear of speaking out or taking legal action to enforce member’s rights when necessary says GMB.

AA has conceded that all AA employees have legal right to be represented by GMB when they have problems at work. This is after AA admitted that it breached the rights of GMB members employed by the company to be accompanied by GMB representatives at meetings dealing with employment issues. This is a breach by the company of provisions in the Employment Relations Act 1999.

Under the 1999 Act, employees have the right to be accompanied to grievance or disciplinary hearings by an official who is employed by a trade union, an official who is certified by a trade union or a workplace colleague.

In the case of Smith v The Automobile Association Ltd, Mr Smith, a GMB member, was invited to such a hearing and requested that he be accompanied by a certified GMB representative in accordance with the above provisions. AA refused saying that he could not be accompanied by a certified GMB representative.

GMB was derecognized by AA in 2004 when it was taken over by private equity owners who proceeded to sack 3,500 of the then 10,000 staff with no credible opposition from the in house staff body that AA managers helped to set up. The many GMB members who refused to join the in house body have had to rely on the right to be accompanied under the 1999 Act.

 AA wanted Mr Smith to be represented by this in house body. Mr Smith refused such representation. Mr Smith, supported by GMB,  brought Employment Tribunal proceedings against the AA complaining that the company had breached the right to be accompanied provisions.

Faced with court proceedings, the AA conceded that its policy in respect of accompaniment at grievance and disciplinary meetings did not reflect the legislative position as far as lay trade union officials were concerned and further stated that it had updated its policy such that lay officials of other trade unions may accompany employees to relevant meetings.

Mr Smith said “I am happy that my case is going to be of help to other GMB members and employees”.

Paul Grafton, GMB Organiser stated ‘This case clearly shows that GMB will fight to ensure our members are properly represented within the AA. We have no fear of speaking out in support of our members or taking legal action to enforce their rights when necessary.’


Contact: Paul Grafton, GMB Organiser on 07714 239092 or 0208 397 888.  GMB Press Office 07921 289 880 or 07974 251 823

Notes to Editors:

GMB has launched a new website for members employed by AA which can be found at

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