Protest planned over trade union recognition

This Is Wiltshire: County Hall, Trowbridge County Hall, Trowbridge

Trade union members will protest outside County Hall today, as the council debates whether to work with companies which do not recognise union members.

The GMB union called the protest after Balfour Beatty, the council’s highways contractor, refused to recognise its members.

Last year the firm sent an email to Unison, Unite and the GMB informing them they will be negotiating with staff internally and that it does not recognise an agreement which was in place with the council.

At today’s full council meeting independent councillors Jeff Osborn and Terry Chivers have proposed a motion calling on the council to only deal with companies in the future which recognise trade unions.

300 staff are employed on the £25 million contract, with the firm responsible for all the council’s grass cutting, road maintenance and street cleaning.

Carole Vallelly, GMB organising officer for Wiltshire, said: “This means that our members have lost all their collective bargaining as well as pay and condition negotiations support.

"In theory, this allows Balfour Beatty to decide not to give pay rises out with no form of redress.”

Union members will stage the protest on the steps at County Hall from 10am today, with the meeting due to start at 10.30am.

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