Socialist Worker

Fury at councils over single status and outsourcing

Issue No. 2050


Workers in the GMB union at Birmingham council showed overwhelming opposition to the single status agreement in the first of several mass meetings last week.

A GMB spokesperson said the deal did not give enough additional money to low paid workers, particularly school cooks, home helps and cleaners.

There is a strong possibility of industrial action and litigation by the GMB’s 5,500 council membership to force the city to meet its equal pay liability.

The new grading system will still leave the majority of council workers on less than £23,500 a year.

At the bottom of the proposed pay scales, some 18,000 employees stand to earn less than £17,500.

Unions are involved in formal consultation with management about the proposals, which are to be introduced at the end of September and backdated to April.

The package on offer would leave over 10 percent of the 40,000 workforce worse off, some by more than £9,000 a year.

GMB regional organiser Dominic Hinks said he expected further staff meetings would also reject single status.

He said, “Birmingham’s new proposed pay structure and its proposal on holiday entitlement continue to discriminate against low paid female workers and will not resolve equal pay issues.”

Other unions, including Unison and the T&G, are also consulting their members about the single status deal.

Argyll and Bute

Some 2,000 workers in the Unison union at Argyll and Bute council in Scotland are balloting over strike action in protest at their single status pay deal, which would see some workers losing thousands of pounds a year.

The proposed strike date is Wednesday 20 June.


The Unison union is threatening legal action against Merton council in south London for failing to pay hundreds of women home carers because it has not resolved a dispute over single status.

A spokesperson for Merton Unison said, “The council doesn’t think any back pay is due so it looks like we will have to go down the court route. Our low paid women members are the ones who will be suffering because of this inaction.”

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Tue 8 May 2007, 18:20 BST
Issue No. 2050
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