Socialist Worker

Secret Tory cuts plan for Lancashire council

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2194

Hundreds of jobs are to be slashed and pay cut at Tory-run Lancashire County Council.

Socialist Worker can reveal plans that give a glimpse of what the Conservatives would like to impose everywhere.

The Tories are using councils as a test bed for policies they plan to bring in after the election.

Lancashire council leader Gerry Rusbridge met with Tory leader David Cameron to discuss the plans.

The council’s “urgency committee” was set to agree “Project Lancashire” this week.

Tear

The plan will tear up the nationally agreed terms and conditions of 33,000 council workers.

Plans include freezing pay, introducing £2.50-a-day parking charges, cutting car allowances even where a car is essential as part of the job, and slashing overtime and standby pay when workers are on call.

Saturday will become a normal working day. Core hours for the rest of the working week will increase by up to four hours a day—yet still be paid at the basic rate.

In addition to “Project Lancashire”, a terrible single status job evaluation deal means hundreds of county council workers could see their pay slashed by more than 30 percent, according to a leaked document.

The figures show that 210 workers—or 7 percent of its staff in schools—could be in line to lose more than a third of their basic salary.

Across the council some 5,385 workers would lose out with an average drop of £1,169 in basic pay.

The majority, some 3,129, face pay cuts of between 5 percent and 10 percent.

Les Parker, Unite union branch secretary, told Socialist Worker, “How can anyone accept a 30 percent loss in basic pay and hope to feed their family and have the same standard of living they did before?

“The figures also understate the true effect of the county council’s proposals because they do not include the cuts in bonus payments.”

Revelations

The agenda behind the plans was shown in revelations printed in Socialist Worker in December.

The council was proposing to cut the number of union reps with facility time by two thirds.

That included removing facility time from union reps working on the job evaluation process.

Workers responded to the prospect of the pay cuts on the council Intranet system.

One wrote, “We are being treated as Israelite slaves being forced by our masters to make bricks without straw.

“I have never felt so extremely undervalued as I do now.”

Another wrote, “Let’s get real and realise that the low paid workers actually rely on overtime to bring their salaries up to a half-decent level.”

There needs to be a fight not just against the attacks in Lancashire but across the country against the onslaught against local government workers.


If you enjoy Socialist Worker, please consider giving to our annual appeal to make sure we can maintain and develop our online and print versions of Socialist Worker. Go here for details and to donate.

Article information

News
Tue 23 Mar 2010, 19:30 GMT
Issue No. 2194
Share this article


Tags



Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.