Workers employed by Knapp UK,  maintaining automated machinery at the Marks & Spencer distribution centre in Bradford, are celebrating after winning their campaign for trade union recognition with Unite, Britain's leading union.

The workforce needed a strong union in order to have an effective voice at work. An organising campaign began with the workers using statutory employment legislation to pursue recognition, but Unite and Knapp UK have now been able to reach a voluntary joint agreement for sole trade union recognition.

In June 2020, after only a few months of campaigning, Unite’s membership rose so quickly that the union was able to apply to the Government's Conciliation and Arbitration Committee for recognition. But on 11 November both parties reached an voluntary agreement for Unite to have collective bargaining rights on behalf of all Knapp UK salaried employees up to Site Manager level based at Mark’s & Spencer’s Prologis Park, Newhall Way, Bradford.

Unite regional officer, Karl Stephenson said: “The workforce are ending this difficult year by celebrating after winning their campaign for trade union rights.

“The workforce needed an effective voice at work and they could see no reason why Knapp UK initially dragged its heels. Despite the initial resistance from management, the workforce and the company have reached an agreement. With the support of Unite’s organising team the workers have built a union and we look forward to being an effective voice during these challenging times."