Thursday, 10 July 2008

Brighton Greens pledge to Respect Unison picket line:

Letter from Cllr Keith Taylor Convenor, Green Party Councillors

The council's Tory administration and senior officers have got it wrong. ("Strike won't stop meeting" Argus July 10). Chief Executive Alan McCarthy says there was no alternative other than to press ahead with a meeting of full council on July 17 - an official day of union action - as there was urgent business to attend to. He was wrong, and I told him so.

Providing there was all party agreement we could have held an 'urgency sub' meeting of council to agree the pressing items. This would have allowed a postponement of the July 17 meeting to another date. For the administration and the Tories to make light of councillors' genuine beliefs that workers should receive a fair living wage by simply riding roughshod over them is not acceptable. Green Councillors will join the picket lines in solidarity with staff, apart from the two members needed to propose and second a resolution offering support for workers' wage claims. Crossing a picket line is a matter of personal conscience no Greens will do it and we are told no Labour members will either.

We will have to wait to see where Tory and LibDem councillors stand. When it takes the highest paid council worker just over two and half hours to be paid what it takes the lowest paid all week to earn one cannot avoid thinking that top earners don't have as keen an eye as others on either their personal budgets or social justice.

Neither will it escape attention that by pressing ahead with the meeting the Tory administration can dodge answering difficult Green questions over key issues such as the Falmer Academy privatization, the cost of operating new council systems, and the distribution of neighbourhood renewal funding. We will continue to argue for fair pay for staff and fair treatment for the city and its residents, both inside and outside the council's chambers!

Cllr Keith Taylor Convenor, Green Party Councillors

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