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Boris Lvin

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British Spies to Get Unionized

The Associated Press
Tuesday, April 16, 2002; 1:44 PM

LONDON –– Britain's spies are to get trade union protection, but it will be strictly undercover.

The staff association for Britain's Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), also known as MI6, is to join up with the First Division Association, the union for senior government managers, the association said Tuesday.

The arrangement will extend trade union support to staff of SIS, which handles Britain's overseas intelligence operations.

The SIS had no comment.

When people join SIS they agree not to join a union, in order to keep secret the details of their identity. The new arrangement is an affiliation that will extend union expertise to SIS staff, without union membership.

"Like other public servants, SIS staff face issues such as training, appraisal, pay, pensions and promotion," First Division Association general secretary Jonathan Baume said.

The union will help the SIS staff association deal with individual grievances and enhance its "overall effectiveness," he said.

The identities and activities of SIS staff will be strictly confidential, Baume said. Numbers of secret service staff are never given.

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