Renfrewshire Council faces legal challenge by Unite over trade union discrimination
- Wednesday 13 April 2022
Unite has today (Wednesday 13 April) confirmed it is exploring legal action on behalf of around 200 craft workers employed by Renfrewshire Council.
The union is concerned that the local authority is potentially discriminating against Unite members for trade union activities following the rejection of a pay offer.
Tradespersons and apprentices working within Building Services covered by the local authority craft agreement at Renfrewshire Council voted unanimously to back strike action.
When notified of the intention to strike by Unite's members, the local authority's management served notice that all Craft workers, who are set to work during the forthcoming local government elections, would be removed.
Unite’s members are responsible for setting up and dismantling the polling stations and were also due to deliver the ballot boxes to the count in the forthcoming council elections on 5 May.
According to Unite, the council’s move could well be illegal and in breach of the Employment Relations Act (1999). Were a court to rule in favour of Unite, Renfrewshire Council could be forced to pay a considerable amount in compensation to the craft workers.
Renfrewshire Council also stands accused by the trade union of reneging on an agreed backdated pay award to July 2019.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Renfrewshire Council should understand that Unite will not tolerate discriminatory treatment of our members, and that we will not hesitate to challenge any such moves.
“Unite is vigorously exploring all legal options and our members at Renfrewshire Council have their union’s full support in fighting for better jobs, terms and conditions.”
James O’Connell, Unite industrial officer, added: “Unite’s members have unanimously backed a mandate for strike action. There is growing anger over how our tradespersons and apprentices working within Building Services are being treated. Renfrewshire Council’s decision to remove our members from performing their duties during the election will backfire on them.
“This ill-thought out move could potentially cause chaos at the 5 May election and cost the council more in compensation than it would have taken to settle this dispute."
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