Annual meeting deferred

Published: Thursday, 16 September 2010

BRITISH Waterways annual meeting, which is normally held in early October, has been deferred and will only be held subject to government approval, writes Allan Richards.

Simon Salem, BW's Marketing Director, has emailed last years' attendees blaming the deferment on governments plans for the waterways to become part of civil society.


Last year's annual meeting was overshadowed with a demonstration by BW staff outside the building. Early attendees were greeted by the sight of BW's Chief Executive, Robin Evans, attempting to get pickets from Unite to disperse (the chief executive later explained that he was inviting the pickets in for a cup of tea!).

Narrowboatworld also reported that Unite (the union which represents British Waterways canal bank employees) was opposed to BW's 2020 vision and, in particular, the increase in outsourcing of bankside work and the use of volunteers to carry out key bankside functions.

Further redundancies

The recent problems with outsourcing company Connaught, and BW's actions, including warning of further redundancies, and recruitment of a manager to implement a change from employed staff to volunteers have resurrected these concerns.

Narrowboatworld also reported on a handout being given to attendees, at the 2009 meeting, stating that Unite members had no confidence that the existing executive management team could safeguard the future of a sustainable canal system.

The events over the last year, including BW's silence on the £290 millions maintenance backlog and its abysmal financial performance will have converted many to this view.

How right Unite were!