Leeds workers reject pay deal
Leeds council workers in the GMB union have voted two to one against a single status pay deal.
Bill Chard, regional officer for the GMB union, told Socialist Worker, “The vote was 1,004 against acceptance and 529 for. It shows that very many people are angry about this deal.
“Our objections are threefold. Firstly there are far too many low-paid workers who are getting tiny increases but much less than they should get.
“You have kitchen assistants and cleaners and care workers who remain at around £6 an hour.
“Secondly, there are people who should be getting a rise who are just standing still. And thirdly there are groups such as refuse workers who are losing up to £120 a week.
“We built the vote by having lots of meetings. We have met around 1,500 members face to face over the last few weeks. We listened to those soundings, and the recommendation to reject is a result of that.
“We will have a shop stewards’ meeting in January to decide where to go next. There are strong calls from some groups to go for a strike ballot.
“Groups like the carers said they would find it hard to strike, but refuse workers said they would be prepared to fight for everyone.”
‘Bizarre’ package at East Lothian
Workers in the Unison, Unite and GMB unions are holding a consultative ballot on East Lothian council’s attempt to impose a single status deal.
The council’s proposals include cutting weekend working payments and moving to seven day working.
Sandra Kennie, branch secretary of Unison, said, “Many of the elements in this new package – like stopping some staff reaching the top of their grades – have not been discussed with the unions.
“Neither has this package been equality impact assessed – which is bizarre as one of the aims of single status is to equality-proof the council’s pay structure.”
The council ended talks with the unions in June. Contracts will be terminated and new ones issued with 12 weeks’ statutory notice. A strike ballot could now be held in January.
Gravediggers out to bury the bosses
Gravediggers in the GMB union in Glasgow will refuse to help bury the dead at weekends if a pay dispute is not resolved.
The Glasgow City Council workers have voted to ban overtime – which will hit Saturday burials at council cemeteries.
Industrial action is set to begin on 22 December. “The gravediggers realise this is a sensitive issue and are extremely concerned at the effects their action will have,” said GMB negotiator Martin Doran.
“But they are resolute. If the pay dispute is not sorted then no overtime will be worked.”
More than 30 gravediggers are protesting at the result of a single status pay review. The gravediggers face a salary cut of up to £5,000 a year.
Supervisors in charge of Glasgow’s 120 parking attendants are also threatening industrial action.
They are considering 72-hour stoppages over Christmas in response to the council’s pay deal.
And dozens of bus drivers who transport 1,000 children with special needs to and from city schools have begun a work to rule.
They are angry at claims that council chiefs have reneged on a promise to pay them up to £2,000 extra before the end of the year.
Coventry ready to fight over job cuts
Workers are preparing to fight proposed cuts of up to 122 jobs at Coventry City Council.
Although workers have been given a list of jobs that will be axed, they say it isn’t detailed enough to work out who is at risk and how services will be affected.
David Cairns of the Unite (T&G section) union said, “We have concerns about the knock-on effects on services. We want to deliver good services to the people of Coventry and won’t be able to do that with proposals for cutting jobs left, right and centre. We’re not happy with any jobs going and we don’t think it’s appropriate.”
Sarah Ferguson from Coventry’s Unison union branch said, “Unison wouldn’t condone any loss of jobs. We are shocked and waiting to seek discussions with management as to how these can be avoided.”