Stop all compulsory redundancies in Equity in Scotland and Northern Ireland NOW.
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Stop Compulsory Redundancies in Equity in Scotland & Northern Ireland NOW.
Equity is a member-led trade union.
For over 50 years, members in Scotland and Northern Ireland have been supported by the Glasgow office. There are three full-time staff – two organisers and a Recruitment & Retention Officer – who have a comprehensive knowledge of the industry and politics in both nations. This means that whenever one of us needs support or representation we get it quickly and effectively. In addition, these staff have the ability to address both the assembly in Northern Ireland and the Scottish Parliament. Given that Scotland and Northern Ireland are close in terms of both geography and culture, this is a relationship that works and makes sense.
There have been countless times when the Glasgow staff have gone above and beyond their role as trade union officials to counsel, support and empower members across both nations. Yet Equity’s General Secretary, Paul Fleming, is in the process of making a full-time official in the Glasgow office compulsorily redundant and bringing Northern Ireland under London rule. This means that members in Scotland will suffer a loss in staff expertise and those in Northern Ireland will lose the special relationship with the Glasgow office. Instead, it will be up to London staff to make decisions about members in Northern Ireland.
Our General Secretary has told us that the constituent nations are in the forefront of his vision and that he will listen to the voices of their members. Alarmingly, he has chosen to implement these changes without any meaningful consultation with National Councillors or engagement with the committees, branches or members in these nations. Furthermore, staffing in Wales has been reduced as well as restructuring and additional redundancies across the union.
The planning and implementation of these cuts is not only anti-democratic – it is anti-trade unionist. Accepting these cuts now sets a very dangerous precedent for the coming years.
The General Secretary and the governing Council claim to oppose compulsory redundancy as a tool for managing the union’s affairs yet have voted these proposals through. It is important to note that all three of the national councillors voted AGAINST these measures, but were outvoted by the remaining councillors. The General Secretary tells us that the redundancies are essential in saving the finances of the union. We argue that the union’s finances are healthy enough to weather the pandemic, that significant savings have been made by Equity’s use of the furlough scheme, and that any compulsory redundancy is against the basic tenets of Trade Unionism. To be implemented in the middle of a global crisis while the furlough scheme is still in place and two weeks before Christmas makes it all the more shameful.
We call on the General Secretary to halt all compulsory redundancies in Equity and reverse the centralisation of Northern Ireland staffing to London.
We call for the union to make full use of the 3 remaining months of the furlough scheme. This gives the time and funding for a full consultation with members in Scotland and Northern Ireland, so that together we can look at ways to better manage the union’s affairs in our nations.
Let’s bring an end to these ‘behind closed doors’ processes and restore open democracy to our union.
*This petition seeks signatures primarily from Equity members. But we welcome signatures from other supporters or trade unionists who would like to sign in solidarity. Just put your union's name in the comments, if you've time! Thank you.
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