Trade Union Bill

Written evidence submitted by Cllr David Perry, Leader of Harrow Council (TUB 57)

RE: Trade Union Bill – Consultation response

As Chair’s of the House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Trade Union Bill I am writing to you to raise my concern about some measures contained within the Trade Union Bill. I am writing to you on behalf of our Harrow Council staff, and the registered Trade Unions who represent them.

1. As a Council we recognise the positive contribution that trade unions and their members make across workplaces in Harrow Council to resolving disputes and reduce costs both on an individual and collective basis when they occur. We value the constructive and mature relationship that we have with our Trade Unions that enables us to resolve any service issues at an early stage and enables us to deliver services at a reduced cost to the taxpayer. We recognise the Trade Unions commitment, and the commitment of all our staff, to the delivery of good quality public services.

2. This Council is clear that facility time, negotiated and agreed by us and our Trade Unions to suit our own specific needs, has a valuable role to play in the delivery of good quality and responsive local services. Facility time should not be determined or controlled by Central Government, particularly given this Government’s commitment to devolution and local decision making.

3. This Council is happy with the arrangements we currently have in place for deducting Trade Union membership subscriptions through our payroll. We see this as an important part of our positive industrial relations, as well as being a cost effective and easy to administer system that supports our staff.

4. The changes that have been proposed would not be an improvement to our current arrangements and I would be extremely concerned that the Bill would actually have a detrimental financial impact to the Council, with regards to the withdrawal of DOCAS (Check off) arrangements.

5. As a Council we would want to continue our own locally agreed industrial relations strategy and will take measures to maintain our autonomy with regard to facility time and the continuing use of check-off in the maintenance of good industrial relations that Harrow is nationally recognised for.

I hope you take these comments on board, and I look forward to receiving your response.

October 2015

Prepared 28th October 2015