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The Independent Online
Sir: Reading John Willcock's article on franchise reform of the Corporation of London ("City's ancient institution votes itself into the democratic era", 12 September), many will feel that, after so many years under the threat of abolition by a Labour government, those who run the City are getting off rather lightly if all they have to consult about is increasing the number of business votes and changing the tenure of aldermen. What is perhaps more salient to the reform of practices which have developed within this backwater of local administration is the need for it to behave respectably towards its own workforce.

Alone of local authorities, the corporation refuses to consult with the national trade union for local government staff, preferring its own employees' club which it has invested with the trappings and the means of a lame, in-house staff association. Despite a sizeable membership among corporation staff, it refuses to acknowledge the union's existence, to the point of misinforming its recruits that only its own staff club is available to those who wish to keep trade union membership, and to the extent that the only circumstance which will force it to deal with us is when we take issue with it through the courts.

At a time when the business community in the City is tidying up its act in respect of its local government, there appears to be no move towards this basic enfranchisement of the workforce on which it depends for its public services.


Branch Secretary

Corporation of London Unison

London EC3