Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Next council meeting and important updates

Reminder Notice of Trades Council EC meeting - open to ALL TU members

The November meeting of the Executive Committee of Brighton, Hove & District TUC will be held on:

Wednesday 4th November, 8pm at The Stag, Upper Bedford Street, Brighton.

The main item of business will be organising support for workers in dispute. Mark Turner (GMB Branch Secretary) and Pete Sinnott (CWU Divisional Rep) have confirmed that they will be at the meeting, and there will also be reports from B&H Council Unison Branch.

Please make every effort to attend this important meeting. (The text of a message from Unison is attached below.)

Public meeting in support of strikers - STRIKERS SPEAK OUT
Brighton postal worker, refuse collector and Brighton Housing Trustworker - all on strike - all to speak at a public meeting.
Tuesday 17th November 7.30pm
Brighthelm Centre

This meeting has been organised by the Support Group which meets on Wednesdays 8pm at the Albert Pub in Trafalgar St. It is sponsored by the Town Hall Unison Branch.

RMT Conference on Working Class Political Representation
Saturday 7th November
11am to 3pm
Camden Centre, London WC1

The Trades Council and National Shop Stewards' Network are supporting this Conference, and urge all those interested to attend. The conference is open to all, but please register in advance via the RMT website.

Statement from B&H City Council Unison

As you will probably have heard, the GMB's ballot has resulted in a 94% vote in favour of strike action on a 76% turnout. It is a massive mandate and GMB members will strike for a week from 9th November, and a work to rule will start from the 5th. Brighton and Hove UNISON is in full support of the GMB and we are instructing our members not to cross picket lines or pick up GMB members' work.

It is increasingly likely that UNISON will also be balloting for action as the true extent of the Council's incompetence and duplicity in the pay negotiations becomes clear - appearing to negotiate with us whilst at the same time preparing to impose pay cuts on large numbers of our members.

UNISON is sponsoring a meeting on 17th November at the Brighthelm at which strikers from the mail, cityclean and Brighton Housing Trust will be speaking. Tonight UNISON issued this statement:


The GMB ballot result announced at lunchtime today (29th October 2009), of 94% of members in Brighton and Hove Cityclean in favour of strike action, is welcomed and fully supported by UNISON (Brighton and Hove Branch). The central issue of the Council seeking to impose massive salary cuts of up to £8,000 on these staff is an issue also faced by many UNISON members in the Council. Whilst our members are not concentrated in one workplace, like the Cityclean workforce, overall it is the case that we will have in total many more staff across the Council who are faced with pay cuts of varying amounts.

These totals reflect the fact that UNISON has in membership some 60% of the entire Council workforce, 3,800 in all, and those affected are in a whole range of posts including, frontline care services, ICT, Planning and so-called "back-room" services. A large proportion of these are relatively low-paid women workers - the very people that Equal Pay legislation was meant to positively benefit.

UNISON cannot be clear what the scale of pay cuts will be, because the Council employer cannot, or will not provide accurate figures to us, despite repeated requests. In addition, the employer has frequently altered its negotiating position, cancelled meetings at short notice and in the last few days managers have told staff in a central part of the Council that they will be "dismissed" if they refuse to sign new, worse pay contracts.

Today, at the "eleventh hour", the City Council have made a further offer in respect of which UNISON is seeking urgent clarification and further negotiation. However, the core pay cuts still remain, along with a plain threat to ignore the two Trade Unions and go straight to staff with these proposals.

This is no way to negotiate or reach agreement. The Single Status Agreement into which these negotiations fall, came into place in 1997 - the Council has prevaricated and delayed for 12 years and now wants to rush new grades into place.

UNISON in a letter today has indicated to the City Council at political and senior officer level, that we will not accept an imposition of new contracts. The Branch will proceed to an immediate Strike ballot in such circumstances. Our membership will also support in every possible manner our colleagues in the GMB when they take action - there will be no division between the two Branches who already work very closely at a local level.

Alex Knutsen, UNISON Branch Secretary said: "A situation which should have been resolved through negotiation over the last 12 years, has now reached a point where confrontation appears to be inevitable. This is very regrettable but even at this time could be recovered. However, if the Council leadership continue along this very dangerous path, UNISON members will vote for strike action to defend their colleagues in their Branch. Members are not militants butcommitted public sector workers forced to respond to an inept, disorganised and threatening management."

For further information please contact Alex Knutsen on 01273 249076 0r 07961025930

Yours in Solidarity
Bill (General Secretary BH&DTUC)