Dear Councillor Janio and Wealls,
I hope this finds you well.
I have read, with dismay but interest, the article in The Evening Argus (Mon 17th July 2017) “New Funding to take Pressure off Park Staff”.
It is stated that your group is concerned around some of the 600,000k budget underspend being spent on “more support” for the unions and as a bribe to keep the unions quiet after recent threats of industrial action over the outsourcing of learning disability services.
I am shocked, although not surprised, that politicians of your calibre are reduced to political point scoring such as this. There have been absolutely no discussions between UNISON and BHCC around paid facilities time and I would like you to evidence where this has happened, either via e-mail, phone or face to face conversations with anyone. Indeed the current funding of UNISON by BHCC for paid facilities time is no greater this year than last so where the idea of UNISON receiving more financial support comes from is pure imagination on your part I am sorry to say.
With regard to the idea that UNISON has in any way been “bribed” by BHCC in keeping their paid facilities time by not taking industrial action due to the outsourcing of LD services, this is absolutely not true and holds no weight. As you know, right up until the last day before the services transferred to Grace Eyre, UNISON was campaigning for these services to remain in-house; hardly the actions of a union which had been bribed by the employer to stop any actions preventing the transfer. An indicative ballot of our members was taken, months after any budget requirement to save the 50k towards facility time and at no time did any discussion take place (other than to notify the employer of the result of the indicative ballot) between UNISON (me as Branch Secretary) and BHCC around any industrial action being mooted.
I am formally requesting that these comments be retracted; it is nothing short of slanderous and disgraceful that you deem such terminology acceptable to use about a sovereign trade union who has proven itself time and time again to have integrity in all its’ dealings with this employer; indeed over many years we have worked together with BHCC to not only save money (millions during the equal pay claim years) but to find mutual solutions to the many and varied issues which have arisen. Should a retraction not be made I will have no alternative but to seek legal advice as to any actions this branch can take against individuals who have slandered this union with these lies.
Whilst I, as Branch Secretary of UNISON, do not expect you to particularly support us, I do expect honesty and integrity to play its’ part and I am sorry to say that on this occasion, you have fallen far short of either of those values in making such spurious claims as have been reported in the Argus. This union does not need to engage in any such nefarious activity as accepting any sort of bribe; our successes are based on solid negotiation and the great support our membership show to its’ union when asked to do so on issues which affect our members adversely. You do a great dis-service to our thousands of members that rely on this branch to offer them the support and representation that they deserve in a lawful way, upholding our values of honesty, integrity and truth!
I expect an apology and look forward to hearing from you in regard to the above.
UNISON Brighton & Hove Branch