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Pickles Attack Wrong and Insulting

Friday, March 1, 2013

Attack by minister on trade union workplace representatives doing a difficult job is wrong and insulting says GMB.

It is disgraceful that minister is attacking ordinary working people, most of whom are women, who have volunteered to represent their colleagues at work says GMB.

GMB, the union for public services, commented on the statement by Eric Pickle Secretary of State for Local Government which attacks trade union workplace representatives as "town hall pilgrims".

Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, said "Eric Pickles doesn't have a clue what trade union representatives do and he's just lashing out because the Tories are losing the plot.

It is disgraceful that he is attacking ordinary working people, most of whom are women, who have volunteered to represent their colleagues at work.

In local authorities these trade union reps are highly valued by employers for the work they do yet the paid time off they get from their job is less than the recent cabinet office guidance issued by Francis Maude recommends. These trade union workplace representatives are being insulted by this unjustified attack.

All the reps we have do a huge amount unpaid in their own time as well. Due to the terrible cuts Eric Pickles has landed on local authorities the trade union representatives have been constantly dealing with job losses, service reductions, reorganisations, transfers and all manner of other difficult and stressful problems. It is a valuable and necessary role and what these representatives do should be applauded not derided.

We need to dispel some myths:

  • Contrary to what Eric Pickles says, Trade Unions receive no public subsidy.
  • Contrary to what Eric Pickles says, there is no closed shop in the public sector.
  • Contrary to what Eric Pickles says, the public sector does not have more facility time per union member than in the private sector. In fact 17% of public sector trade union reps have no facility time at all compared to 7% in private sector according to the government's Workplace Employment Relations Survey 2011.
  • Contrary to what Eric Pickles says, trade union reps are legally entitled to carry out their duties without interference

These trade union workplace representatives are being insulted by this unjustified attack."

End

Contact: Brian Strutton 07860 606 137 or 0208 947 313. GMB Press Office 07921 289 880 or 07974 251 823

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