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Council leader Margaret Eaton said: 'We are very pleased that, following extensive negotiations between the council...
Council leader Margaret Eaton said: 'We are very pleased that, following extensive negotiations between the council, trade unions and the bidders for the 'Bradford i' ICT contract, an agreement has been reached that has averted the threat of industrial action.

'This agreement is not only good for staff but will also allow us to improve the service we provide to people across the Bradford district.'

Press release from Unison follows:

Council in U Turn decision

Unison negotiators were in jubilant mood today after securing an agreement with the council at the eleventh hour that removes the threat of privatisation. This comes after months of hard negotiating and was only achieved after Unison members voted 9 to 1 in favour of taking industrial strike action which would have left all council services in turmoil.

Negotiators on the£100m 10-year project stated at the conception of the project two years ago that staff should be seconded rather than be privatised.

Unison branch chair Gurjit Singh said: 'It is time this council and other local authorities up and down the country start listening to staff concerns that privatisation is not the only way to secure the best deal in delivering key services to the public. This exercise has proved that services can continue to be delivered in-house jointly with a strategic partner.

'The agreement we have reached will be recommended to our members at a meeting this week. The main clause of the agreement provides a cast iron assurance that

Bradford i will now only proceed on the basis of staff secondments.'

Unison branch officer Patrick Kerry said: 'This agreement is ground breaking and will pave the way for other similar agreements elsewhere in the wider local government community. The agreement is testament to the strength of our organisation and has only been achieved with all members supporting each other in pursuit of a common purpose.

'Whilst it is undoubtedly good news, Unison negotiators recogn ise that further work still needs to be undertaken as regards the specific details of the secondment arrangement with both the council and the successful bidder.'

The following resolution was unanimously passed at a meeting of Unison members today:

1. the council agree to the withdrawal of the 'forced TUPE' employment model from the Bradford i process, and commit to taking Bradford i forward solely on the basis of an alternative employment model that allows staff who wish to remain employees of the council to do so, and to be seconded to work for the Bradford i partnership.

2. the precise detail of the final employment model to be subject to final negotiations with the preferred bidder once identified.

3. The trade union undertake to recommend to staff that industrial action planned to begin on 26 February be called off and no further action will be called within the period allowed by the January ballot.

4. Both sides agree to continue working together within the established industrial relations machinery to achieve a successful outcome to the Bradford i project.

5. Both parties agree that reconvening the JCC is no longer necessary.

6. Both parties agree to further discussions in order to seek agreement on the future role of the unions in the continuing tender evaluation process.

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