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15 July 2015

Labour council axes union facility time

Jane Nellist, National Union of Teachers (NUT) Coventry (personal capacity)

Coventry council, a Labour-controlled authority, is planning draconian cuts to facility time - union reps' time for trade union duties.

The Socialist has already reported on Tory-led Bromley council's huge attacks on facility time, to prepare for mass privatisation. But attacks from a Labour council are an absolute disgrace. What's worse, the council is trying to railroad through changes without negotiation or regard to agreements with the unions.


The council has ignored a dispute lodged by teachers' unions NUT, NASUWT and ATL, public service union Unison and general union Unite. It defends its proposals by referencing right-wing pressure group the Taxpayers' Alliance, widely believed to be a Tory front organisation.

Unison would lose 45% of facilities time, Unite 21% - and the NUT 70%.

Unite and Unison are affiliated to the Labour Party. Local Labour leaders have ignored pressure to withdraw the proposals. Labour's open preparations to do the Tories' dirty work show why workers need political representatives who support them - like the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition.

The unions have had some success in staving off the council's worst excesses. Now the council wants to prepare the ground for still more attacks on services, pay, conditions and jobs - on top of the thousand already cut.

If Labour gets away with it in Coventry, then your council services and workplace will be next.

Our trade union movement has made great advances over the decades. But what we are seeing now challenges all of those gains. We must not allow this to happen.

Support Coventry council workers by signing the petition: