Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Greater London Employers' Forum meets 12 October

Tomorrow I am off to a meeting of the Greater London Employers’ Forum (GLEF) – the new joint body bringing together representatives of the London boroughs and the recognised trade unions. The GLEF is accompanied by a smaller body – called the Greater London Provincial Council (GLPC) which will handle the actual negotiations, while the GLEF will just be a consultation forum (or “talking shop”). Confusingly the GLEF corresponds to an earlier body also called the GLPC.

The former GLPC was collapsed by the employers side when they walked out of the negotiating body in order to sabotage an attempt by the trade unions to get the long running dispute over London Weighting referred to arbitration. This followed a programme of selective and all-out strike action. The union has also pursued political lobbying in support of our demand for an increase in London Weighting.

The challenge for the trade unions is to use the new bargaining machinery to force the employers to address the issues of concern to our members – including the outstanding question of London Weighting, but also (for example) the issue of institutional racism in the workplace. Tomorrow’s meeting will choose topics to discuss at forthcoming meetings. I’ll post a report later.

It is worrying to note that the employers want to to approach the Trade Union side with a view to changing the GLPC’s constitution so that the Employers’ Side would no longer need to be chaired by a borough leader, and that they think that these bodies should only meet “when necessary”. That doesn’t suggest that they are going to treat this very seriously. Of course, all our previous problems with the employers were when Labour were in control of the Association of London Government. I suspect we’ll find things are even worse now that the unpopularity of New Labour in Government has cost the Party control of some many local authorities…

No comments: