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Contract staff win union right

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Local government contract staff are expected to win a new right to information about trade union membership and skills training.

The Cabinet Office’s new Joint Statement on Access to Skills, Trade Unions and Advice in Government Contracting applies initially to central government departments.

But LGC understands that its requirements to promote literacy and numeracy training and union opportunities to contract workers could be applied to local government from next year.

Local Government Employers (LGE) is consulting councils on how the obligations agreed by the government, CBI and TUC would affect them.

It asks whether individual councils should agree to the statement or if a general acceptance of its principles should come from the Local Government Association.

LGE senior negotiator John Sutcliffe said the government could not impose the document on councils in the same way it could on its departments.

“Some of it is straightforward, but we couldn’t assume that there would be no costs or difficulties for councils,” he added. “That’s why we are having the consultation.”

Unison national officer Simon Watson said the guidelines should be best practice for any progressive employer.

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