Hypocritical Council Leaders Condemn Exploitative Employers While Choosing to Work With Them

Leicester’s Labour-run City Council continue to maintain a cosy partnership agreement with Samworth Brothers, a company which for many years has been one of our city’s most famous anti-union employers. This relationship should be considered highly problematic for our Labour Council, but it isn’t, as Samworth’s anti-worker credentials remain well-established. Just last month local Labour Cllr Gary O’Donnell castigated the company for its refusal to recognise the Baker’s Union for the purposes of collective bargaining. Here Cllr O’Donnell was speaking alongside Jeremy Corbyn and many others at the “Unionise Samworth Brothers” rally that was held in Leicester on June 19 at the Highfields Community Centre.

Interestingly just a few weeks prior to this meeting taking place, Deputy city mayor Cllr Sarah Russell was waxing lyrical about the aid that Samworth was providing to the children of many impoverished workers during half-term, some of whose parents will likely be employed at Samworth Brothers sites across Leicestershire. She said: “I’d like to thank the team at Samworth Brothers and Company Shop for helping us support thousands of young people and their families across the city with this important half-term initiative, and I’d also like to thank the volunteers who will give up their time to help staff our five community pantries.”

But now Cllr Russell is on a mission to condemn abusive employers, with an exception seemingly provided to those powerful employers that help the Council feed the poor. Thus, at the coming full council meeting (to be held on July 7) Cllr Russell will be speaking to a motion (which is seconded by Cllr Adam Clarke) that begins:

“As a major employer, and investor in local, regional, and national supply chains, this council recognises that, far too often, exploitative, unscrupulous, and abusive employment practices exist. This Council condemns those practices and is committed to rooting them out.”

Of course, the target for this motion cannot be abusive employers like Samworth Brothers. Either way, in relation to the motions single demand that relates to trade union rights, the motion highlights that the Labour Council will “Highlight to its suppliers that contracted workers are free to join a trade union and are not to be treated unfairly for belonging to one.” The motion however makes no mention of the fact that the Council should encourage their suppliers to stop undertaking anti-union propaganda and shouldn’t oppose entering into collective bargaining agreements with unions in their workplaces!

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