The MSF trade union is accusing Sir Terence Conran of supporting Labour while “turning democracy on its head” by ignoring a plea by the majority of the Design Museum’s staff for the union to be recognised.
The MSF is to step up a campaign designed to pressure Conran, the chairman of the museum’s board of trustees, into reversing a 1995 decision not to recognise the union, despite a ballot which showed 26 out of 35 staff backing the MSF.
The union is hoping Labour leader Tony Blair will distance himself from Conran, who has declared his support for Labour and has appeared at events organised by the party. It is believed Conran is due to meet Blair again this week.
Ironically, if Blair is the next Prime Minister, one of Labour’s plans is to force employers to recognise trade unions where a majority of staff have voted for such recognition.
The MSF this week placed an advertisement in Design Week, which the union says is an open letter to Conran. The MSF spokesman says that more than half of the museum’s staff are in the MSF: “We are confident that if the ballot was to be held again we would get a similar result.”
A spokesman for Conran says he has “no comment” on the story. A Design Museum spokeswoman says: “It’s ancient history. These events occurred in 1994. We are not commenting any further.”
Another MSF spokesman says the 1995 ballot makes the dispute “far from ancient history – we have been pursuing this, but have had the brush off from the museum and from Conran”. He adds: “Now we have decided to go public.”