Unison to fight Swindon council plans to cut union reps

Public sector union, Unison says it will fight to save the jobs of two of its representatives under threat at Swindon Borough Council.

The local authority wants to cut the full-time post shared by activists Bob Cretchley and Karla Bradford as part of an "efficiency savings" drive.

It says in the current economic climate the union should pay their wages.

But Unison said the cost to the taxpayer was minimal, and it would fight to protect their jobs.

A spokesman said the union would not "stand by and let this attack happen".

Comments 'unreasonable'

He said: "We will challenge it by every means necessary, by rebutting the council proposals with hard facts and figures and by lobbying every member of the council and senior officers with our case."

He added that industrial action may also prove necessary and the union would make the matter a "huge issue" in the forthcoming council by-elections.

A consultation is currently underway at the council to decide on whether to cut the posts at the start of the new financial year in April.

The two workers are elected by local Unison members and their sole duty is to carry out trade union duties at the council. They are the only publicly-funded union members within the council.

Councillor Keith Williams, cabinet member for Leisure and Corporate Services said: "This is not an attack on trade union rights at the council, but we don't think it is right in the current financial climate that council taxpayers should pay the salaries of full-time union officials.

"These should be paid for by the union's membership.

"Their comments about the amount of money being saved overall is also unreasonable - we are currently going through the painful process of reducing the number of posts at the council by more than a hundred, and while each of these posts on its own may not save a vast amount, the total saving will be significant."

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