Union campaigning for ‘no’ vote over mayors

Vote No in the elected Mayor referendum is UNISON's message. Handing out leaflets outside Doncaster's Mansion House are, from left, Darren Selby, Joe Gibbons, Trevor Durant, Steve Ball, Robin Symonds and Sean Macmillan.
Vote No in the elected Mayor referendum is UNISON's message. Handing out leaflets outside Doncaster's Mansion House are, from left, Darren Selby, Joe Gibbons, Trevor Durant, Steve Ball, Robin Symonds and Sean Macmillan.

DONCASTER Council workers have nailed their colours to the mast by launching a campaign opposing the borough’s mayoral system.

Members of Unison, the trade union which represents the largest number of Doncaster Council staff, launched a campaign in the town centre calling for a return to the old council and leader system.

The people of Doncaster are being asked to vote on whether they support the mayoral system in a referendum on Thursday, May 3.

Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband has said he supports the mayoral system. Current elected mayor Peter Davies opposed the referendum, saying it was too costly when the borough was having to cut spending.

But Doncaster councillors have called for the role to be scrapped. Now Unison has lined up with the councillors, and given out leaflets in support of their position.

Unison official Rhianne Johnson said: “The people of Doncaster are being given the opportunity to vote in a referendum to decide if the council should continue to be controlled by an elected mayor, or whether it should return to the previous system of councillors from across the borough electing a leader each year. Unison are asking all members to vote no.

“Under the system of an elected mayor all the power rests with one individual without proper democratic accountability.

“Our experience of elected mayors in Doncaster has been a nightmare.

“Doncaster has had an elected Mayor since 2002, during which time the council has performed poorly in comparison to others, leadership has been weak, and at the same time Doncaster has had the highest level of jobs losses and cuts to terms and conditions of its workforce - more than any other council in the region.”

Ed Miliband previously said: “I disagree with many of Peter Davies’s policies and views but it does not mean that an executive mayor cannot bring advantages of efficiency and stability to the town.”