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A new pre-launch web site has been made public today at

It allows anyone interested in a new sort of trade union to leave their email address before the launch.

"I think the basic legal insurance could be provided with just one member",says John Robertson, the founder:

"I could set-up a trades union all by myself, but it would be nice to have a few dozen people showing interest before I contact insurers."

John noticed a gap in the market for employment law insurance after getting the sack himself a couple of years ago while a long-standing union member.

"It was a very hard case to loose", says John "but I had to study law while off sick to work it all out."

"I went to complain to something called a union Branch Committee, which I had just found out about, and saw in the minutes that someone else who had been bullied-out from the same employer had been there with the same complaint the month before. All they said was 'a union is not for legal insurance but for solidarity' and carried on raiding the branch budget for donations to communist causes. They were a committee of about seven elected on a show of about seven hands to represent about a thousand people across a dozen South London employers. It was like something out of Alice in Wonderland".

"Towards the end of the time limits for taking the employer to a tribunal, I was suddenly told that I would be allowed a union lawyer if I submitted a tribunal form myself".

"It turned-out this was a scam: the man was a no-win no-fee lawyer who wasn't up to the job. He took the work on condition the other side would settle, and when they didn't settle straight away he left a trail of chaos which the tribunal system seemed to blame me for. The union gave me no choice of lawyer and refused to fund a replacement".

The union hopes to grow enough to provide advice from human resources workers over the phone to try and prevent problems from reaching the tribunal stage. There are even hopes of funding human resources workers to attend meetings personally, to read papers and build-up a strong network of members, seek recognition from employers, and negotiate fair working conditions.

"One thing at a time though", says John: "I don't want to pretend I can do more than get insurance just yet, and I don't want the workers of the world to unite in my living room all at once till I've tidied it. I'm self employed on another career now and have very little time".

Notes to editors:

-The Legal Services Act has just been re-passed by parliament. It exempts unions from registering with the Financial Services Authority. They do not need to have a written contract with members or provide any service at all.

-Most unions claim to be trusts democratically controlled. But the Trades Unions and Labour Relations Act does not dictate how the first line of elections is held. A show of seven hands in the back of a pub about who controls budgets for a thousand members is quite legal, even though the senior jobs have to be elected by postal ballot.

-Many solicitors advise that you cannot sue a union because of the vagueness of the implied contract. But Joanne Sherry, a former teacher and now a court service employee, sued the National Union of Teachers for failure to provide a service and forced them to repay union dues paid during a long a long teaching career.

-Large unions are keen to promote fair employment practices and oppose bullying when it doesn't cost them anything, but the most common complaint on bullying-support web sites is failure of representation by a trades union:

John Robertson is available for comment on 0208 286 9947
Contact Name: John Robertson
Contact Email:

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