Council responds to inaccuracies published by the union Unite – Coventry City Council

Not for the first time, we are forced to correct blatant inaccuracies published by the union Unite regarding the ongoing talks to try and stop the strike action they have organised.

While we do not want to get into a public war of words, failing to challenge the falsehoods they are continuing to present runs the risk of people being misled.

The residents of Coventry that we serve deserve better.

In the union’s latest release from its national headquarters, there are several pieces of information presented as ‘facts’ that are simply not true.

  • No elected member, not even the Leader, can suspend a member of staff. Suspensions are coordinated by HR and are officer led. To suggest otherwise is totally incorrect.
  • We will not talk about individual cases but, as a principle, we will investigate complaints made about any member of staff. No one is above the process and all gross misconduct allegations are dealt with in the same way. There are no exceptions.
  • It is only common practice for councils to pay a market rate supplement if there is a retention problem or challenges with recruiting. Regardless of the national picture, this is not an issue in Coventry and we have successfully recruited 15 drivers in the last 12 months without a problem.
  • Describing ACAS, the independent arbitration system, as a “farce” is deeply disappointing. Before its finding, Unite – as did the Council – pledged to be bound by it. We would have accepted the outcome, even if we did not agree with it, but it seems Unite now no longer want to. We had hoped that the outcome of the independent job evaluation would have resolved the matter and that drivers would have returned to work. However, we are committed to entering into meaningful negotiations with Unite and continue to hope that they will be willing to enter into discussions with ourselves or with ACAS to reach an end to this ongoing industrial dispute.

Coventry City Council has always tried to openly negotiate to avoid and resolve this strike action, but that effort has not always been reciprocated despite public declarations to the contrary.

We want to provide a service that the residents of the city rightly expect and deserve. We had hoped the independent ACAS finding would be the breakthrough to the dispute but Unite’s comments today suggest that will not be the case.

Thursday, 10th March 2022

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