Sunday 11 January 2015

TUSC opposes Bromley Council's attack on council trade unions

Just as unions warn that Bromley Council is set to unveil plans for some of the biggest cuts in its history, the Tory Council has announced plans to immediately cease trade union 'facility time'. 

Facility time arrangements, commonly supported by employers right across the country, allow workforce representatives to be released from their jobs to carry out trade union representation and other duties.

This disgraceful plan could leave thousands of local authority trade union members in Bromley UNITE and Bromley UNISON without access to a local lay representative to help organise and defend them, just as they see their jobs threatened with cuts and privatisation.

As an online petition which has already gathered over 200 signatures makes clear, "Bromley council is embarking on over £70m of cuts in the next four years despite siting on over £100m in reserves and £500m of assets, they are also looking to privatise over 2000 workers. These cuts will devastate the lives of the young, the old, disabled and vulnerable in Bromley and it will mean many more workers will face the misery of pay cuts and redundancy. Never has it been more important for them to have the protection of their unions". 

Please sign the petition via:
A Facebook group 'Boycott Bromley' has also been set up, calling on workers to let Bromley know that they won't apply for jobs in a Council that attacks workers' rights to be represented by their union.

TUSC, the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, opposes these attacks on the democratic right to trade union organisation. We offer our support and solidarity to the local authority unions seeking to oppose this attack - as well as the threat of cuts and privatisation too.

Following a TUSC selection meeting to take place on January 22nd, I hope to be officially able to announce that I will be standing as the TUSC candidate in the Lewisham West and Penge constituency. It covers three wards in the London Borough of Bromley - Penge, Crystal Palace and Clock House - as well as four wards in Lewisham borough.

I welcome the support that my proposed stand has already received from several members of Bromley Trades Council, including trade unionists threatened by these proposals. 

Glenn Kelly, Unison branch secretary, gave his personal backing, saying "it's about time we had a politician in Bromley that was willing to stand up for the people of the borough and its workforce instead of simply carrying on cutting jobs and services".

TUSC's campaign in Lewisham West and Penge will challenge Bromley Tory Council's cuts, privatisation and attacks on trade unions. At the same time, we will also challenge Lewisham Labour Council's own planned cuts and its use of pro-academy Tory legislation at Sedgehill School. 

Lewisham West and Penge voters face two parties, Labour and Conservative, both carrying out Tory policies. TUSC wants to stand to give local people a real alternative - a choice to vote for a local MP that supports trade union rights and opposes cuts, whichever party is choosing to impose them.

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