Unions concerned about 'personality politics' campaign for 'no' vote
BRISTOL Trades Union Council believes that an elected mayor will put too much power into the hands of one person.
Members are also worried that:
â elected mayors can appoint unelected deputies with more powers than elected councillors
â councillors will see their role reduced to an advisory one
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â power would be taken away from voters at ward level
â elected mayors would be paid a large salary – councillors only get allowances
â an elected mayor would create a personality contest – not produce collective leadership.
Bristol Trades Union Council is an umbrella organisation for 30 trade union branches representing 20,000 working people in the Bristol area.
Secretary Andy Robertson said: "Trade unions in Bristol are saying 'yes' to more local democracy but 'no' to the concentration of power in any one individual's hands. The problems facing the city and the opportunities in the future need more collaborative working.
"Many trade unions fear that the personality politics of directly-elected mayors will mean the real issues facing their members and communities are sidelined.
"We are calling for a real revival of local government with more powers and more accountability instead."
He said it would take a vote of two thirds of the council to challenge a mayor's decision.
"This can mean for example that a budget or any other major decision could be imposed against the wishes of the majority of councillors," he said.
Mr Robertson said the cost of mayoral elections and the salaries of the mayor and his or her staff, would be far better spent on services.
He said: "We are urging people to vote no in the referendum."