Martin Ford 13 August 2019

Formal dispute opened by union at Northamptonshire

A trade union has lodged a dispute with Northamptonshire CC.

The county branch of Unison has resorted to the formal process in a bid to bring the council to the table and engage.

Unison claimed the council has 'repeatedly made important decisions without consultation with the trade unions’.

Its move has been backed by GMB, the National Education Union, the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers and Association of Educational Psychologists, which all put their signatures to the letter to Northamptonshire.

Unison branch secretary Kev Standishday said: ‘The crisis in Northamptonshire CC is well known.

'The trade unions have repeatedly offered to work with the county council to find solutions and yet they are continuing to make decisions behind closed doors, refusing to use the expertise of staff and the trade unions who represent them to solve the problems are facing.’

The Unison branch has expressed frustration over a lack of pay rises for staff.

Commissioners reported earlier this year that improvements were being made, particularly in terms of finances, but there was ‘much more to do’ to improve services.

The reorganisation of the county into two unitary authorities has been pushed back by a year to April 2021.

Mr Standishday said: ‘The county council needs to work in partnership to deliver the best for Northamptonshire.

'It has a legal obligation to consult with staff and at the moment they are not doing it.

‘We feel the council is paying lip service to consultation at a crucial time for staff and residents with the county council being abolished and two new unitary councils being created.’

A council spokesman said: ‘We are in the process of reviewing the information that has been submitted by the trade unions and will be in contact with them directly to discuss their concerns.

‘We spend a great deal of time working with trade unions and are committed to resolving issues amicably.’

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