Almost 5000 Salford Council staff have until the 6th January to accept a new pay structure, within which 58% of employees will lose financially over the next five years – or be sacked.
A Salford Council Consultation Report: Pay and Grading Review repeats the threat twice, first stating that if it can't "secure a collective agreement" with trade unions, it will "ultimately revert to dismissal and offer of re-engagement where necessary"…
And again, later on in the report…
"In the event that the amendment to contract cannot be achieved via a collective agreement all affected employees will be issued with notice of dismissal from their current contract but will be offered immediate reengagement/employment on the revised terms."
In response, trade unions which represent Council employees - Salford City UNISON, GMB and UNITE the union - sent a circular to their members branding the Report "completely unacceptable" and accusing Salford Council of "bully boy tactics, especially from a Labour Council".
A mass meeting of over 200 UNISON members on Monday evening voted to "instigate an industrial action ballot of all UNISON members affected by these proposals" if the Council refused to withdraw the document and "lift the threat of dismissal notices".
The Council Report on wage cuts also proposes not to pay any increments due to employees next year, and completely omits top earners – those earning above Scale Point 49.
The Council intends to cut 4.7%, or £15million, off its wage bill by 2017/18
and intends to re-grade its employees into five `zones' or pay scales. Under the new pay scales, in the first year of its introduction, 2012/13, the Council states that 44% of staff will lose money while only 27% will gain. And, by 2017/18, 58% of staff will have lost, while only 20% will have gained (22% no change).
The furious unions - already subject to wage freezes and redundancies - state in their circular to members that… "Job evaluations were designed to address inequality - not as a means for councils to make cuts!"
At the end of last week, City Mayor, Ian Stewart, sent his own circular around to Salford Council employees, trying to put the blame on the trade unions for leaking the Report to its members… "I know that this has caused distress for many of you" he wrote, arguing that the Report was "intended to begin the consultation" and was "never intended to be the final structure for implementation".
Unfortunately, the Mayor has begun the consultation with two threats of sacking people if they don't accept the pay cuts. And the unions have responded with threats of strikes.
Ian Stewart, sponsored by trade unions and with much of his working life spent in trade union education, obviously hasn't learnt much - despite inventing the word `humanegement'. It's beginning to look like all out war between a Labour Mayor and his own workforce.
At 1pm today, UNISON, via Branch Secretary Steve North, circulated its members again…
"Please do not let them convince you that a pay cut will save your job" he states "These proposals will save a lot less money than we are lending to a rugby team! Where are the Council's priorities?
"The bottom line is that this is about a cut to the Pay Bill…it is stated clearly on Page 8 that under the new proposals 4.7% would be cut from the Pay Bill in the next five years (£15 million) and that this would involve an immediate 2.5% cut across the board in April next year. 44% of members earning under Scale Point 49 will lose money in the first year, with over half having lost it by the end of the third year."
Attacking the Mayor's argument that the pay cuts are actually about equal pay, North adds… "This is not about Equal Pay. For a start more women lose money than gain money. That is a smokescreen. It is about saving money from the wages of those who work hard to deliver the services the people of Salford rely upon.
"It will not save jobs" he adds "It will simply make life harder for those of us who already get up and go to work every day, despite more difficult conditions, increased work-loads and less colleagues."
Salford City UNISON has now called for a lobby of the Labour Group of councillors Against Attacks on Pay and Services on Monday 15th October 5pm-6:30pm at the Civic Centre.
And here's how the other half live...
• This year, Deputy Mayor, Councillor David Lancaster, almost doubled his pay packet to £44,850
• Assistant Mayors also got pay rises of over £3,500 when their roles were re-graded from Executive Support Members.
• Martin Vickers, Strategic Director for Customer and Support Services, saw his overall pay package rise from £104,124 in 2010/11 to £124,346 in 2011/12 – a rise of over £20,000.
• Barbara Spicer, Chief Executive of Salford Council received £211,607 – a rise of £1,215 thanks to an increase in employer pension payments.
Update: 11th October 8pm
Salford Mayor in incredible, insensitive statement shock!!! Click here