Bromsgrove Council Reject Calls for a More Robust Relationship with Trade Unions

Last week Bromsgrove District Council rejected a Labour motion which requested they should do more to engage with Trade Unions, particularly those that represent staff who are employed by the Council.

Cllr Harrison Rone-Clarke made a plea to fellow Councillors to support a motion which asked the Council to regularly engage with Trade Unions that represent staff employed by the Council, both to highlight its own role as a responsible employer but also on behalf of all Bromsgrove residents who themselves want a robust relationship between their Trade Union and employer. The motion specifically asked that a member of the cabinet attended Trade Union liaison meetings in the future.

Harrison said at the meeting on the 20th of January:

“We want the cabinet to engage more robustly with Trade Unions, and particularly Trade Unions that are representing workers and staff employed by this council.

Anybody who is thinking of voting against this motion tonight, a key question I’d like to ask yourself if this – if you were a member of a Trade Union, would you or would you not want the same robust engagement with your employer?”

You can watch the full video of Cllr Rone-Clarke proposing the motion here:

The motion itself called for the following:

Despite the motion’s modest demands, it was rejected by the Bromsgrove District Council, sending a clear message to workers across Bromsgrove about how their elected representative feel about constituents who are worried about unsafe working conditions and practices. Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.” The document was previously ratified by the UK in 1951, and later was used in conjunction with the European Convention of Human Rights which came into force in ’53.

Cllr Rone-Clarke, a member of Unison himself, told Worcestershire Transformed:

“The Tories nationally seem to have a vendetta against workers rights. The Bromsgrove Conservatives appear to be following suit.

I was told two opposing stories. Firstly, that the council had an impeccable record on working with the unions. Then, I was told I was mad for proposing that a Conservative cabinet met with the unions.

The key argument here is this: even if the council already engages thoroughly with the trade unions, why won’t they commit to doing so, in writing.”

The Councillor’s comments come at an important time with many members of Trade Unions across the U.K currently engaged in disputes with their employers, either as a result of being forced to work in an unsafe workplace or being threatened with the Fire and Re-Hire strategy. The highest profile dispute ongoing has between British Gas and its workers, who are have been told by management that they will be fired if they do not accept contracts with weakened terms and conditions. Staff are also concerned that these new contracts do not recognise the importance of customer safety. You can learn more about the dispute at GMB’s Website.

If you are unsure what Trade Unions are or which ones are available to you, go to https://findyourunion.tuc.org.uk. Other Unions that are not affiliated to the TUC include the United Voices of the World, the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, or the Industrial Workers of the World.

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