Is this a positive step? Or just a sop for the proles?

At the WMCA Board Meeting on 17 February it was agreed “that the Trade Union Congress (TUC) be co-opted (1 seat) onto the WMCA Board” and have “a seat on relevant working groups”, with voice but no vote.

This could be one small step towards opening up the Combined Authority to participation so the citizens of the West Midlands have a voice in its policies. It does not displace the business dominance of the WMCA but it does have the potential to challenge it. But there is a danger that it could be just a token concession to keep the unions quiet.

One seat on the Board is better than none, but the employers’ reps from the Local Enterprise Partnerships have three places.  And union seats on working groups are nothing new – the Board agreed that last June. That still leaves the key strategic bodies such as the Strategic Economic Plan Board, the Public Sector Reform Board and the Scrutiny Committee – all of which have employers’ reps but no union reps .

Ever since the WMCA was launched in 2015 Birmingham Against the Cuts has called for it to be opened up to democratic participation, not just by the unions but by community organisations and service user groups, and for an elected Assembly to make the WMCA publicly accountable and responsive.

Source: A union rep on the Board – a first step towards democratising the WMCA? | Birmingham Against The Cuts

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