Friday, 27 March 2015

Unite Committee Bin's Blacklist Motion

ORCHESTRATED by the Chair, Sidney Graves, this month, the Local Authority Regional Sector Committee (Risc) of Unite the Union in the North West, binned a motion from the Bury Unite Commercial Branch calling for local Councils in Greater Manchester to halt the awarding of contracts to companies that have been implicated in blacklisting of trade unionists in the British building trade.  Sources close to  Unite have told Northern Voices that Mr. Graves is currently seeking a full-time paid  position in the union and 'does not want to ruffle any feathers'! Certainly throughout the meeting, the Chair made it clear that he had a pressing engagement and wanted to get away by 1.30pm. 

Representatives of Bury Unite at the Liverpool meeting expressed astonishment when the Risc meeting Chairman asked if anyone wanted to discuss the motion on blacklisting and this was met with the silence of the grave.  Shortly before the Chair put this to the meeting Nick Parnell, representing Unite at Manchester City Council, told the meeting that as a Councillor on Bury Council that he had already moved a motion on Bury MBC adopting an 'Ethical Procurement Policy' with regard to awarding contracts in April 2014.  The implication being that Bury Council didn't need another policy on the awarding of contracts to building companies, but he said there may be difficulties in getting Manchester City Council to agree; possibly because the central Manchester Council and figures like Councillor Kieran Quinn the leader of Tameside Labour Council, are already in bed with companies like Carillion through the Greater Manchester Pension Fund.   

Two years ago, another Manchester Council -  Salford City Council also Labour, was challenged with a Unite demo when despite assurances from Ian Stewart that it was against blacklisting when it awarded a contract to a company that had been affiliated to the Consulting Association, a body proved to have been facilitating a blacklist.   

Since the Bury motion was unceremoniously binned by the Unite Risc in Liverpool, Northern Voices has been approached by people in Camden in London, who claim that Ethical Procurement Policies against blacklisting have been adopted down there and that this hasn't stopped contracts being given to dodgy companies.  Furthermore, Northern Voices  has seen the Ethical Procurement policy adopted by the Labour controlled council Bury MBC, and  we feel that it is not fit for purpose.   

Bury Unite Commercial Branch has a particular interest in the under-hand nature of the blacklist and sly surveillance, because ten-years ago a Unite shop-steward at Bury Council and two other binmen were sacked following the use of a hand held camcorder by a council employee under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) to spy of the workers.  The case did not go to Court and the Council ultimately settled out of Court following an expensive award to the shop-steward. 

But remember most of the councils in Greater Manchester that are guilty of being in bed with companies like Carillion are Labour Councils, and it may well be that Unite’s North West Local Authority Unite Risc sitting in Liverpool this month, may not have wanted this matter of Labour Councils awarding contracts to blacklisting companies airing as the election approaches in May.  Even the Blacklist Support Group is supposed to be looking forward to a Labour victory.  So the disgruntled members Bury Unite Commercial Branch should get their priorities right, calm down, and shut-up, until the great Labour leader Ed Miliband is ensconced in office in Downing Street.  And we can look forward to 5-years of a Labour Government.  Until then those who are blacklisted like the rest of us, will just have to wait for their salvation and the instalation of Labour Government under Ed Miliband.  Then perhaps all will be well, and even Mr Sidney Graves, the chairman of the North West Local Authority Risc may get his wish for some kind of stipend.

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