Equality rights and national collective agreements

Back to all Motions

2015 Local Government Service Group Conference
20 February 2015

Conference is concerned at the continuing pressure to move away from nationally agreed terms and conditions amongst local government employers, including those of our own National Joint Council (NJC).

Conference notes that it was our union’s national collective bargaining that established many equality protections long before they were enshrined in law. For example, our predecessor unions secured recognition of same sex partners for the purposes of workplace benefits in the Blue Book over ten years before workplace discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation was banned and twenty years before the first same sex marriages.

However, conference notes the increasing numbers of local government workers who are outside national bargaining and, in some cases, outside any collective agreement, on individualised contracts.

Conference acknowledges the challenges of collective bargaining for local government members in the outsourced sector, which has numerous small employers. Further, many private sector employers mistakenly believing they do not need to deliver on the Equality Act 2010, nor put in place strategies to promote equality.

Conference also acknowledges the challenges of building union density and organisational strength in these types of local government workplaces, to support collective bargaining.

Conference believes that our union’s proud track record on equality and self-organisation is a great resource in meeting this challenge. For example, participation in UNISON’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) group unites scattered and isolated members around a shared identity and purpose. Many local government activists have begun their union activism within self-organisation or young members organisation.

Conference therefore calls on the local government service group executive, in liaison with the national self-organised groups and national young members forum, to:-

1)challenge attacks on national local government bargaining agreements and on collective bargaining in general;

2)raise awareness of the value of collective bargaining in relation to equality rights;

3)publicise and promote best practice in entrenching collective bargaining in community, voluntary and private workplaces that fall within the local government service group;

4)increase efforts to build local government workplace density and organisation to support bargaining, including via supporting and promoting our self-organised groups and young members organisation.