Council backing for union campaign to improve workers’ rights

Coun Ed Malcolm
Coun Ed Malcolm

Councillors in South Tyneside have backed a trade union campaign aiming to boost workers’ rights and employment opportunities.

A motion presented at full council linked the borough to the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and their ‘Great Jobs Agenda’.

The TUC define a ‘great job’ as fair pay and treatment, opportunities to progress and having a “voice that matters”.

Councillors backed a number of campaign pledges.

This includes providing fair employment practices for council staff and promoting good practice with council suppliers and borough businesses.

In action, this can see commissioning powers used to raise employee standards alongside the council working with employers to promote “sustainable and ethical” business growth.

Coun Doreen Purvissaid many workers in the borough were struggling due to low pay, temporary jobs and zero-hour contracts.

She said: “The reality is the woman in the low paid job who says to me she can’t afford prescription items until she gets paid at the end of the month so she has to do without vital medication.

Cabinet member for resources and innovation, Coun Ed Malcolm, said many TUC campaign practices mirror existing standards for council employees.

This ranges from the council supporting trade union recognition and providing the living wage to high quality apprenticeships and staff wellbeing.

He said: “The economic imbalance in the economy and the gig economy has offered a fresh chance to exploit the poor, which has resulted in social and economic inequality and insecure work.

“The campaign is not just about what the council can do as an employer but what it can do to promote standards to other employers locally.”

“Following decades of deindustrialisation and the hollowing out of our Labour markets, some communities in the UK and the North East in particular, have been left without good unionised jobs that provide the pay and the skills to get on.

“This can’t continue, South Tyneside should be proud of its record as a good employer and we should wholeheartedly support the TUC’s ‘Great Jobs’ Agenda.”