A STAFFORDSHIRE county councillor launched an angry tirade against trade unions calling criticism of his plans to overhaul school services “baloney” and saying it made him “sick to his guts.”
County Councillor Ian Parry presented the controversial Education Support Services Project to a committee this week and said he had been angered by criticisms of the plans calling the project “rushed” and “secretive.”
“This project protects jobs and what sickens me to the gut is when I hear the little twists and turns of trade unions and their Labour friends,” said Councillor Parry.
“This is not rushed and this is not secretive, we will have taken a year to now from the starting point of this project and it’s taken until now for people to crawl out of the wood work and start making a fuss.
“I don't know why that’s happened, the cynic in me thinks it’s got something to do with being six months from an election,” he said. “I have not received one email, one letter or one phone call about this up until the last few weeks and then all of a sudden the trade unions are making claims of the process being secretive and being rushed.
“I have never heard so much baloney in my life,” said Councillor Parry. “They are simply supporting their mates in the local Labour Party to win seats in the county council elections next year.”
Labour Councillor Ron Clarke expressed concern over the transparency of the project to date asking why it was not possible to release the names of the organisations bidding for the contract.
“Why is it that we have never been told who the bidders are?” he said. “I can't see where the sensitivity is in naming them?”
Councillor Parry said the competitive nature of the procurement process meant bidders had to remain equal and that releasing names could lead to the scales tipping in favour of one organisation over another.
“We don't have the permission to go exposing what competitive arrangements companies have been involved in,” he added. “I really don’t see the benefit of bandying names around.”
Councillor Clarke said: “Perhaps you don't, but many people do. We are now down to the final three bidders and I see nothing wrong with naming people.
"It doesn't diminish from anything you want to do.”
David Marsden, assistant branch secretary for Staffordshire UNISON, called Councillor Parry’s comments about trade unions and other concerned parties “unguarded” and said they showed “he is rattled by genuine criticism of his pet project and by perfectly reasonable requests for greater openness and clarity.
“Mr Parry carefully skirted around giving any substantive answers to questions from County Councillors - though since most were his Tory colleagues this is hardly surprising,” said Mr Marsden.
“If Staffordshire's Tories are so convinced their scheme is the best way forward, they should stop the rush, end the secrecy, engage properly with those affected - and let the electorate decide in the county council elections."