Union begins high-profile campaign against threat to withdraw facility time from two leading union reps in Swindon


UNISON is to stage a protest rally in Swindon next week against a threat from the Tory-led council to cut all facility time funds for two leading union reps.

The union estimates the cut amounts to a saving in the budget for Swindon Borough Council of a staggering 0.00000021%.

UNISON says Bob Cretchley and Karla Bradford have worked solely on trade union duties for many years under facility time regulations which are a legal obligation for such public sector organisations.

It warns it will challenge the proposal by industrial action if necessary.

The TUC reported in January that trade union facility time could be saving employers in the private and public sectors as much £701m a year – or the equivalent of £2m a day.

Earlier, moves in the House of Commons to push for reduced facilities for trade union reps fell at the first hurdle when MPs defeated legislation introduced by Tory MP Jesse Norman.

Last year, another council in the south-west, Plymouth City, moved to de-recognise UNISON during a dispute over cuts which it said particularly targeted low-paid female workers. The authority later re-instated facility time for the reps and withdrew a lock-out from their branch office.

The union says it intends to make the facility time cut a huge issue in the council by-elections in May.

It has called a lobby of the Council next Thursday (23rd February, 6.00pm) and is calling on supporters to contact Swindon Burough chief executive to register their opposition to the proposed cuts.

You can write to the Chief Executive Gavin Jones at Swindon Borough Council, Civic Offices, Euclid Street, Swindon SN1 2JH or e-mail Gavin Jones (gjones@swindon.gov.uk) or the Leader of the Council, Roderick Bluh at the same address or e-mail Roderick Bluh (rbluh@swindon.gov.uk).

Please copy in the local branch – swindonunison@swindon.gov.uk.

Watch our film report here on the campaign against de-recognition in Plymouth:

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