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Labour Make a Mockery of Democracy

January 23, 2011 7:21 PM

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Alliance group has called for an extraordinary council meeting to be called to enable Councillors to fully discuss the proposal to change employees' terms and conditions in RCT.

Responsibility for drawing up new arrangements was delegated to the Chief Executive in October. Group Leader Councillor Mike Powell says such a big decision is to big to have been delegated in such a manner.

"At the time this was brought up we voted in favour of an amendment which said that negotiations should go ahead but that it should be referred back to the full Council before implementation. This was voted down by the Labour members.

We believe that in fairness to employees this matter should be subject to full and frank discussion and that as elected representatives we should have the chance to question the proposals.

The request has been agreed to by the Mayor but the meeting date has been set for 23rd February. Thus will be far too late to make any difference in the procedure Employees are expected to have signed the new agreements prior to that.

This is obviously a very emotive issue, and we have been careful not to make any knee jerk reactions. It may well be that there are good reasons for some of the proposals; others may unfairly single out certain groups of workers. We wanted the opportunity to seek clarification, although at the end of the day the Labour administration would do as they wish.

The effects of this will be wide spread. As Councillors we have a responsibility to employees to ensure they are fairly treated, and also a responsibility to the wider public to ensure they receive value for money and effective services.

The unions have already reacted angrily to the way in which the consultation was carried out. They were refused permission to address the full Council and are feeling aggrieved that they have had no outlet for their frustration.

We wanted the subject brought before Council to allow an opportunity for open discussion, not decisions made behind closed doors. The decision to discuss it after the fact makes a mockery of democracy"