Socialist Worker

Walkout at Preston council

Issue No. 2091

Several workers at Preston city council walked out unofficially on Thursday of last week after being told that the single status review will leave a third of the workforce facing pay cuts.

Some Unison union officials have argued that the deal will help low paid women. In fact the lowest paid women will only get 8 to 10 pence more an hour.

Meanwhile more than 400 workers – mostly women – will face pay cuts. Some stand to lose up to £7,000 a year.

Respect councillor Michael Lavalette raised the issue of single status at a Preston city council meeting on Friday of last week. He was applauded by council workers in the public gallery when he spoke out against the devastating attacks.

He was then interrupted by the chief executive who told him that single status was a national policy and that there was no point protesting.

Resistance

Michael responded by pointing to resistance around the country such as the strikes in Birmingham that have proven that single status can be fought.

Michael told Socialist Worker, “The attacks on wages are truly shocking. They contrast starkly with the senior council officers who were awarded 11 percent after their regrading process last year.”

The council has told workers they have until 14 March to sign up to the new contracts. If they sign up in this time, the council says it will protect their salaries for only 2 years.

Those that don’t sign up to the changes will have their contracts terminated and the new ones imposed with no protection.

Unison members will discuss their response to the deal at a meeting on Friday of this week.

Many are angry that the local Unison branch leadership has already signed up to the council’s plans.

There is also outrage at the scale of the wage cuts and a widespread feeling that these plans must be stopped.


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