Islington councillor threatens his own council with bin strikes over a family member’s job

Cllr Gary Doolan

Cllr Gary Doolan - Credit: Archant

A councillor has been ­accused of holding his own council “to ransom” by threatening rubbish ­collection strikes – over cuts to a family member’s job.

In an e-mail to Islington Council, Cllr Gary Doolan – also a GMB trade union official – threatens “disruptive action” after accusing the ­local authority of breaching the conditions of Gary ­Harris’s job. Mr Harris is his brother-in-law.

He also talks of balloting GMB members while further warning of “strike action”, a “ban on overtime” and “no bank holiday working” for refuse and street sweeping workers in the email which was leaked to the Gazette.

The dispute centres around “facility time”, the Gazette understands – the amount of time off given to workers for union business during the week.

Cllr Doolan accuses the council of “singling out” Mr Harris.

When asked why strike ­action would be justified, Cllr Doolan this week ­refused to respond to requests for comment.

Islington Council, which employs Mr Harris, refused to comment on whether it had breached conditions.

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However, in his e-mail sent to council workers, Cllr Doolan said: “As the council has now reneged and breached this collective agreement with no use of a formal process, then this now constitutes a fundamental breach of a collective agreement and the collaborative agreement and therefore the agreement cannot be seen as no longer valid on any party.

“It’s with this in mind that I will be arranging a series of meetings in caretaking and associated services especially in refuse and street sweeping where I will openly tear up the agreement and instigate disruptive action.”

He also threatens to instruct workers to work “strictly to only agreed job descriptions” while “ending any flexible working ­arrangements”.

The e-mail adds: “As a means to stop this action it would be appropriate to suspend the cut to the facility time until negotiations and consultation has been explored.”

Cllr Doolan’s wife and daughter also work for the council.

Terry Stacy, Islington Council’s Lib Dem leader of the opposition, said the dispute shows a clear “conflict of interest”.

He said: “This kind of threat is a complete conflict of interest and it’s unfair to threaten services like this over a family member’s employment.

“As a result I will be referring it to the council chief executive to be investigated.”

A council spokesman said: “We are committed to providing excellent services to our residents. We are also committed to good employee relations.”