Bradford council backs down in worker representation row

Bradford council backs down in worker representation row

25 October 2013

Attempts by Bradford metropolitan district council to dictate which union rep an employee should have to represent them at hearings have been scuppered following a legal challenge by Unite.

Unite, the country’s largest union, hailed the climbdown by the council as ‘a significant victory’ for the rights of workers to have a shop steward/rep of their choice to represent them at hearings on their performance.

The centre of the dispute was the council’s unilateral decision in April to reduce the amount of facility time that shop stewards were allowed to represent their members.

Unite, which has about 520 members working for the council, argued this denied employees their statutory right under section 10 of the Employment Relations Act 1999 to choose their own representative.

After a legal challenge by Unite, the council has now amended its procedures to reflect the fact that members are allowed to choose their own representative.

Unite regional officer Mark Fieldhouse said: “This is a significant victory for employees’ rights. We were in the ridiculous situation where council managers, under instructions from the human resources department, were selecting trade union stewards to represent members, regardless of who the member wanted. 

“Unite challenged this process politically, industrially and legally, resulting in the change of procedure. This means that members can now ensure that they get representation from a person who is their choice.  This is a basic right in law.” 


For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.