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Unite takes a swipe at GGCA in Master Services row

Unite the Union has accused civil service union GGCA of being “naïve and short sighted” by suggesting Master Services should be brought into the public sector, even if the idea was “admirable in ideology”.
In a statement, Unite said the GGCA should be more responsible in its negotiating strategy.
“There are reasons for which Government enters into tender agreements with private sector employers, and that is that the multitude of tasks that a Government needs to undertake to meet the needs of its community would be cost prohibitive if these were undertaken from within the public sector,” Unite said.
“Add to this the financial and social uncertainty that Brexit will add to the equation and it beggars belief that the GGCA would be willing to recklessly pursue their current negotiating strategy.”
“Unite wishes this were different, but it is the reality of our circumstances.”
“There are alternatives to the GGCA’s proposal however that Unite has considered as viable and these could be put in place when it recovers negotiation rights for this area.”
Unite said a “holistic and democratic tender process” was vital not just for the Master Services contract but for any government tender process.
It said the GGCA had highlighted “a commendable attitude” by management at Master Services in respect to its understanding and flexibility in matters dealing with substance abuse or serious illness.
But Unite added that such arguments could not be used by a union to defend the directors of a company once a contract came to an end, or to “attempt to usurp” the tender process “to the detriment of the public purse”.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Unite would not be entertaining the owners of any company in trying to hold on to their tender through thick and thin and using this as a grievance on the workforce’s behalf,” Unite said.
“The GGCA’s collusion to safeguard the employer, and using its’ memberships funds and resources to this end is one we suspect the civil service will not be happy with.”
“Unite however has noticed that the GGCA has changed its emphasis from defending the directors originally to being somewhat more sympathetic to the concerns of the workforce. We welcome this.”
Unite acknowledged that GGCA held the collective negotiating rights for Master Services employees, but argued it was still entitled to defend those workers who were still Unite members.
It said it had received assurances that any existing arrangement between its members and the current company would be “a de facto consideration” for the allocation of the tender bid to any prospective bidders.
Unite’s statement also included a swipe at the GGCA on wider issues beyond the row over the Master Services contract.
“The GGCA is haemorrhaging civil servants to Unite, a sign that many are not happy with the GGCA leadership’s attitude to issues within the civil service such as the retirement of top level civil servants with full gratuities who then become re-engaged as consultants and therefore block promotion opportunities as well as costing the taxpayer a significant amount,” Unite said.
“Or perhaps it’s Unite’s picking of the right causes to defend, such as that of the Ministry of Defence’s attitude to our locally entered civilian workforce that is attracting more members and more interest daily.”
“In fact, if we were to pick only one bone of contention with the GGCA, of which we have many, Unite would highlight the absolutely dismal behaviour and attitude of the GGCA in respects to the MoD issue, where they have been nowhere to be seen.”
“The GGCA has some members in the MOD and their silence on this matter is damning.”

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