Cheshire West & Chester Council’s Full Council meeting on Thursday 10th December witnessed Councillors debating Trade Union concerns rather than the concerns of all residents. At a time when the Council should be considering how to continue the excellent record of economic development and regeneration, creating local jobs for local people of the former Conservative administration, the new Labour administration has decided to debate National policies of Trade Union reform, with a motion that has been originally provided by Unite the Unions.
The original Unite motion can be seen above (available on the Unite web site), with deletions (in red and purple) and additions (in green and yellow) by CWaC Labour. It shows rather than debate the issues of concern to all residents, the council is becoming a lobbying organisation against the National Government.
According to the Register of Interests (as at 2 December 2015), held by Cheshire West & Chester, 24 of the 38 Labour Councillors have union links, with 20 being members and 4 retired members. Cheshire West’s new Cabinet has 9 Councillors of which 6 are union members and of those 3 are members of Unite.
More concerning is that 8 Labour Councillors as sponsored by Trade Unions, that means they receive money from their Union for their election expenses. The Code of Conduct is clear that a Member has a disclosable pecuniary interest if they receive sponsorship and therefore should not be involved in the debate or take part in the vote. The Motion was severely watered down from that originally proposed in October and the Council’s monitoring officer decided these Councillors could still partake (the purple deletions show the additional wording removed prior to December).
The motion was proposed by Cllr Paul Donovan, who is a member of Unite (and was sponsored by Unite) and seconded by Cllr Karen Shore who is a member of the NUT.