Trade unions locked in
deadlock over the Peugeot strike threat successfully begged
Coventry City Council not to become embroiled in the debate.
The council was due to
discuss the issue at its meeting last night following a motion
tabled by Socialist councillor Dave Nellist.
Cllr Nellist (St
Michael’s) had urged his colleagues to express their regret at
the management action, which he described as “draconian.”
He also urged the city
council to express its full support for the workers at the Ryton
Managers at Peugeot are
today trying to persuade workers not to strike over new working
conditions, which could see staff on the main four-day shift being
asked to work extra Fridays to keep up with demand for the Peugeot
Workers on the weekend
shift could also face an extra day in the working week.
The result of a second
ballot over the changes will be known on Wednesday. If the workers
stick with their decision they will strike the next day.
Last night the city
council pulled away from debating Cllr Nellist’s motion after
the AEEU and TGWU unions asked to be allowed to continue
negotiations without being under an intense public spotlight.
The unions, who had
recommended that their members accept the management’s offer,
convinced council leader Cllr Nick Nolan to use standing orders to
move to the next business.
“It would be quite
wrong for this council to debate this matter when we have been
asked not to.
“The council is not
part of the negotiating process and I am clear that we should
respect the privacy of both Peugeot unions and management as
they work together to resolve any differences.
“If we had been called
upon to help in any way I am sure we would have considered that
request in a positive way, but we have been asked quite
expressly to leave this matter for resolution between
Peugeot’s unions and management.
”We respect their
right to conclude negotiations without reference to this or any
other party which may not be in full command of the facts.”
However Cllr Nellist said
the request had come from the same officials who continued to
recommend that the management offer be accepted, despite an 86 per
cent vote by the workforce against it.
”The idea to having
last night’s debate was to let the shop floor have its ten
“The argument isn’t
so much about the money. It is the fact that the pattern of
their lives are being messed around with. This will be the
seventh change to their shift pattern in the last 12 years.”
Cllr Nellist said he was
concerned that the standing order was passed without him even
being allowed a reply to it.
“This is censorship.
The issue affects a lot of people in the city and their families
and the council chamber is the place where these matters should
be discussed – like the Rover crisis and minimum wage.
“The ballot process at
Peugeot has probably finished by early this morning so it would
not have affected the result.”
He added that a special
meeting had been arranged at the Cox Street Working Men’s Club
on Tuesday at 7.30pm to have the debate.