Coventry councillors told to 'stop union busting'

Campaigners call on Coventry councillors to reinstate Unite’s Pete Randle

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Local residents and campaigners, accompanied by a mobile ad van, will be out in full force to support Unite rep Pete Randle (pictured) who is attending an investigation hearing on Tuesday (April 5) following his outrageous suspension.

Emblazoned on the giant Ad Van will be the words: Labour Councillors Stop Union Busting, Reinstate Pete Randle. The rally will be held tomorrow (April 5) from 9.30am to 10.30am at One Friar Gate, CV1 2GN.

Strikes began early this year and the 70 HGV drivers have been on all out strike since January 31 in a dispute over low pay. The workers’ basic rate of pay begins at just £22,183 per annum, which is far below pay rates of neighbouring councils.

Last month, the council took the outrageous decision to escalate tensions with Unite by suspending the union’s shop steward on bogus charges in the middle of the dispute. Pete Randle is attending a disciplinary investigation hearing on Tuesday at the Coventry council office at One Friar Gate.

The dispute has already cost Coventry council over £2.9 million, with costs rising daily, when it would cost just £300,000 to resolve the dispute. The council has even set up a strike breaking, rogue alternative bin collection service.

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham said, “Coventry councillors needlessly escalated this dispute by targeting our rep.

“The charges are bogus,” she added. “Pete Randle must be reinstated without delay and councillors must get on with negotiating an end to this dispute. Councillors are wasting millions trying to break the strike. Unite will not allow workers to pay for the pandemic.

“Labour councillors need to stop the union busting, reinstate Pete Randle and pay drivers the rate for the job.”

By Ciaran Naidoo

Photo by Mark Thomas

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