Socialist Worker

Bury council: cutting wages by a quarter

Issue No. 2114

Up to 1,200 council workers in Bury were left stunned and angry last week after being told their wages will be cut – by as much as £7,500.

One council worker collapsed after suffering a panic attack and scores of others were left in tears when letters telling them about the cuts arrived.

The majority of those faced with a reduction in their wages in the council’s single status deal earn between £14,000 and £22,000 a year.

Those earning £45,000 or more were not part of the evaluation exercise.

One worker said, “The letter which dropped through my door stated that my pay is to be cut from £17,000 to £12,000. Anyone earning over £45,000 was exempt from this review, so their pay is not affected.

“My cut will be £333 a month, which is half my mortgage payment. With the increase in petrol, utilities and food, how am I supposed to manage?

“All of my colleagues have had a pay cut ranging from £2,000 to £7,000 and none of us earns more than £18,000. We are all women. So, I would like to know who the 42 percent are that have had an increase. It is certainly not us. Is it the managers?”

Another worker said, “In the present climate, to give staff this kind of pay cut is disgraceful.

“Fuel bills are expected to increase by 35 percent and food and petrol bills are also rising. So, why are the council reducing the wages by up to 40 percent?”

A plan to dismiss 1,100 Leeds council workers and re-employ them only if they accept new contracts, including wage cuts, has been called “horrific” by the GMB union.

Workers were told they would be dismissed in October if they refused the terms.

The 1,100 workers who have not accepted the new terms were sent letters telling them their employment would be terminated on 31 October and they would be offered “re-engagement” under a new contract to start the following day.

The letter read, “If you report for work on or after 1 November 2008, not having accepted this offer of re-engagement, you will be asked to leave the premises, as you will no longer be an employee of Leeds City Council.”

Bill Chard, GMB regional official, said the plan to dismiss the workers was “horrific”.

“What they have done is drag the men down,” he said. “There was a right way to do this and a wrong way and this was the wrong way.”

Parking and community wardens in the Unite union in Aberdeen are to be balloted for strike action over council plans to merge the two roles.

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Article information

Tue 12 Aug 2008, 19:15 BST
Issue No. 2114
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