A branch of Unison has accused a council of “gagging” after it cancelled a public meeting on issues brought forward by trade unions.

The Harrow local government branch described the decision as “shameful” and “disgraceful”, arguing that it was a tactical move in the run up to elections next year.

The meeting, which was scheduled for November 29 at the Harrow Civic Centre in Station Road, was set to involve some of the borough’s “most recognised trade unions”.

Organisers explained that it was cancelled because “representatives from the union side were unable to attend the formal Employees Consultative Forum (ECF) meeting”.

In a statement, Harrow Unison took aim at Cllr Kiran Ramchandani, the chair of ECF, and Cllr Sachin Shah, the leader of Harrow Council.

“In what is an act of complete dictatorial arrogance, displaying a total disregard and contempt for the democratic principles and laws of this country and the council’s constitution, our members’ right to have their voice heard has been effectively “gagged” and suppressed,” it said.  

Cllr Ramchandani replied by offering to meet at a future date that is convenient for all parties.

She said: “We have always shown our commitment to trade unions and meet regularly with them to consult.

“Unfortunately representatives from the union side were unable to attend the formal ECF meeting.

“Councillors remain willing to meet with all unions at a convenient date when unions are willing to attend. Harrow Council and its administration are committed to working with all trade unions without favouring one above another.”