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The GMB, Britain’s General Union welcomed the signing off by the Government of the final piece of the Two-tier Workforce Agreement, the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) which must be incorporated in any contract awarded by a Local Authority.

Following the publication of the Two-Tier Code in 2003 discussions have been ongoing between the LGA, CBI and TUC to agree an Alternative Dispute Resolution Machinery (ADR). This has now been agreed and was formally 'signed off' and endorsed by the Minister for Local Government – Nick Raynsford – on 9 March.

The ADR can be invoked by either, the Contractor, Local Authority or Trade Union only after existing negotiating and dispute procedures have been exhausted. Any dispute will be considered by an Independent Expert appointed by ACAS and the decision is binding.

The Minister also agreed that the application of the Code and the ADR be jointly monitored by the TUC, CBI, LGA and the ODPM.

It is the responsibility of the local Trade Unions, Local Authority and Contractor to agree the machinery before the contract is awarded – preferably at 'Preferred Bidder' stage.

Mick Graham, GMB National Secretary for Public Services said:

“This is a major victory for the Trade Unions because it should ensure that regardless of the employer, terms and conditions of public service workers in local government will be protected.

“The GMB calls on all local authorities to comply with the agreement and to ensure that it is included in any local contracts awarded.”

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