Thursday, 22 July 2010

Going through the motions with Bury Binmen

LAST WEEK at a meeting between Glen Stuart, Head of Waste Management, and Simon Bagley, Head of Human Resources, the Unite Union representative, Julie Burgess, was told that the Bradley Fold binmen would have to start work earlier at 6.45am after the 90-day notice period had elapsed this coming Autumn. Management claimed they had fulfilled their obligations by doing a survey of the workforce even if they didn't get anything like a majority of the binmen to agree to their proposal. This just goes to show the management can conduct any kind of one-eyed 'ballot' or 'consultancy mechanism' to bamboozle binmen to accept their proposals, it doesn't matter that they don't get the workers support in a survey. Management claiming they are going through the motions and only following the proper procedure set down in the agreement between Bury MBC and the majority union, Unison. Glen Stuart also claimed he had had positive noises when he put his proposal forward at the Bradley Fold Working Group meeting he operates. This Working Group seems to be being used by the bosses as wedge to force through management schemes.

What is interesting here is how management can sally forth with changes without worrying about doing a proper ballot or even serious consultation of the workforce: just by going through the motions of a tin-pot survey conducted in a slapdash way they can get away with anything. While the unions have to conduct ballots with care and attention to detail using an outside body the Electoral Reform Society the bosses can do what they want. This was pointed out last night by the UCATT convener, Lawrence Hunt, at Media City in Salford at a meeting of the Manchester Trade Union Council, while giving a talk on issues of health and safety, the blacklist, and working procedures. He said that construction companies had often carried out procedures in a slapdash manner and often the health and safety of workers were put at risk. He feared that the Cameron Government might go further in cutting corners on health and safety, and was concerned at the extent of the blacklist used to keep people out of work. The meeting was told that blacklisting would not just be confined to the construction industry. The workers at Bradley Fold know of some other nasty tricks such as the practice of surveillance of workers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, using a hand-held camcorder, conducted some years ago by Bury MBC to sack a shop steward.

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