Socialist Worker

Council workers resist single status attacks

Issue No. 2089

Leeds

Angry refuse and street cleansing workers in Leeds are to demonstrate on Wednesday of next week against Leeds council’s proposal to take up to £6,000 each year from their pay packets.

Workers in the GMB union plan to protest outside a council meeting at Leeds Civic Hall.

Bill Chard from the GMB said, “We have voted by over two to one to reject the council’s pay proposals.

“We will fight to take low paid women out of poverty pay and resist Leeds council’s attempt to plunder the pockets of refuse and street cleansing workers.

“Lower paid workers, mainly women, feel cheated because the equal pay that they expected does not form part of the authority’s proposals.”


Blackburn

Workers in Blackburn with Darwen council in Lancashire are set to ballot for strike action.

The workers, members of the Unison and Unite unions, have already voted to reject the new pay scale. The council is attempting to force through a single status deal that would see more than 1,000 workers’ wages cut by up to £15,000 each.

The council has admitted that a quarter of the council workers’ salaries would be cut under the deal.


Argyll and Bute

Some 50 parents and children protested last week in Rothesay’s, Argyll and Bute, in defence of the town’s only crossing patrol worker.

Danny Bauld resigned from his post after being told he faced a substantial cut in his wages as a result of Argyll and Bute council’s single status job evaluation process.

Danny said he was leaving “with a heavy heart”.

The unions have called off a rolling programme of industrial action, but many workers fear that proposed changes will do nothing to address the prospect of wage cuts.

One council worker told Socialist Worker, “People thought we were fighting on behalf of everybody who was losing out. Very few of us have any confidence that appeals will be heard fairly. So many people are involved – refuse workers, classroom assistants, school staff, gravediggers.

“People can’t afford wage cuts and the unions shouldn’t have stopped the fight.”


Northumberland

Tensions were rising among council workers in Northumberland after they were all given a mug with four stars on it supposedly in recognition of their hard work in helping the authority gain a four-star rating from the Audit Commission.

People reacted angrily – pointing out that while senior managers were given pay rises, all the workers were only given a mug.

Many also slated the mugs as a waste of money.

One worker, who did not want to be named, said, “Each mug must have cost 50p.

“It is an absolute joke. I am disgusted by it. Where has the money come from? It has put our backs up.

“Morale is very low at the moment, and this has made it worse.”


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Tue 19 Feb 2008, 18:45 GMT
Issue No. 2089
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