Local Government Trading Companies

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2016 Local Government Service Group Conference
26 February 2016

Conference we know that many councils have now established local trading companies. As you know these trade as separate companies to the council, but are wholly owned by them.

Within local UNISON branches we are told that the reasons behind these companies being established normally falls into two categories:

1)Service delivery model, where they do work for existing councils; or

2)Commercial trading model, where they wish to secure contracts from external organisations.

Conference, as these trading companies are now on the increase branches have become adept at challenging councils as to the rationale for establishing such companies, within UNISON we have produced brilliant guides such as ‘Branch Guide to Local Trading Companies’.

Conference, what is becoming the biggest threat for our members with the establishment of such trading companies is the erosion of their pay and the attack on their terms and conditions. Many councils are now moving female dominated worker groups such as adult social care workers into trading companies. When branches are drilling down to the feasibility of such new trading companies, it appears the only motivation is to drive down employees costs, conference this must be stopped.

Conference, we call upon the Service Group Executive to:

a)Support local branches in challenging the formation of local trading companies;

b)Support local branches in ensuring that councils don’t set up trading companies to try and reduce their equal pay liability or reduce workforce costs;

c)Support regions and branches to ensure that with the formation of local trading companies, this does not undermine national bargaining;

d)Ensure that equality impact assessments are carried out before a trading company is established.