Hull city council was under fire today (Thursday 18 February), from Britain’s largest union Unite for axing two trade union convenor posts as part of a cost cutting exercise while at the same time committing to spending over £1.5 million a year on consultants.
The Labour controlled authority says it needs to make cuts of 2.5 per cent across all budgets because of central government cuts, but according to Unite it’s unfairly targeting the trade union facility time budget, by slashing it by 50 per cent and axing both the Unite and GMB convenor posts.
The move by the council comes despite studies showing that for every £1 spent on trade union convenors and facility time, the council and taxpayers save at least £3 because workers’ issues are dealt with swiftly and effectively.
In a bid to ensure effective representation for their members, Unite which represents over 600 people working across the council and the GMB, put forward plans to save the council more than the £100,000 it was planning to save through the budget cut.
Instead, Unite says the council shifted the ‘goal posts’ tearing up established practice and procedure by creating a system where only the trade union with the largest number of members could have a convenor.
Pete Schofield Unite convenor at Hull city council said: “Unite saves the council and the taxpayer thousands of pounds a year by working with managers to nip issues in the bud and ensure they are dealt with swiftly and effectively.
“Just in the past month alone, Unite has managed to secure over £300,000 worth of free training for staff, demonstrating the value of Unite’s contribution to council and the taxpayer alike. All this comes at the same time as the Hull city council commits to spending £1.5 million of taxpayers’ money on consultants.
“We are therefore angered and bitterly disappointed that despite offering alternatives which would have saved the council more money, it is ploughing on and unfairly targeting facility time by axing the Unite and GMB convenor posts.
“We would urge the council to reverse this perverse decision and recognise the need for effective industrial relations and that all Hull city council workers deserve proper representation from their union.”
For further information please contact Unite regional officer Malcolm Hancock on 01472 355421 or 07980710040 or Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.