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TRADE UNIONS ACCUSE SICKENING SALFORD COUNCIL OVER FORCED PAY CUTS
 

Star date: 15th October 2012

`SICK' SALFORD LABOUR – ONLY COUNCIL IN COUNTRY TO THREATEN SACK IF STAFF DON'T TAKE PAY CUTS

"This is absolutely sickening behaviour from this local authority and we've got to stand against it" Steve North Salford City UNISON

At a well attended lobby against ruling Labour councillors this evening, Salford City UNISON branch secretary Steve North launched a scathing attack on the Council for its "sickening and disgraceful" attitude towards industrial relations.

Salford Council is proposing to impose wage cuts of £15million that will see over half of its staff on reduced pay. And if they don't accept the cuts by January they will be sacked.

Full story and photos here…


Lobby of Salford Labour Councillors  Lobby of Salford Labour Councillors  Lobby of Salford Labour Councillors
Lobby of Salford Labour Councillors  Lobby of Salford Labour Councillors  Lobby of Salford Labour Councillors
Lobby of Salford Labour Councillors  Lobby of Salford Labour Councillors  Lobby of Salford Labour Councillors
Lobby of Salford Labour Councillors  Lobby of Salford Labour Councillors  Lobby of Salford Labour Councillors
Lobby of Salford Labour Councillors  Lobby of Salford Labour Councillors
click image to enlarge

"For us to be treated like this by people who are earning three… four… five… six times as much as the people doing those jobs is sickening and disgraceful…" Steve North


Members of public sector trade unions, Salford City UNISON, GMB and UNITE the union, turned out this evening to lobby Labour Party councillors attending a Labour Group meeting at the Civic Centre in Swinton.

Council staff and unions are furious that the Council wants to impose pay cuts of up to 4.7% to save £15million off its wage bill - and has given them the ultimatum of accepting reduced pay by January 6th 2013, or be sacked (see full background in previous Salford Star article – click here).

Councillors were handed letters urging them to put pressure on Mayor Ian Stewart and their colleagues to withdraw the `take it or be dismissed' proposals.

Strategic Assistant Mayor, Councillor Paul Dennett (allowances £23,091 with no wage cut in sight), who has special responsibility for `Humanegement and Workplace Reform', stopped to talk to trade union members* and argued that there must have been some "misunderstanding" about the draconian way in which the negotiations were handled…

…About ten minutes later, Steve North, Salford City UNISON branch secretary, addressing trade unionists through a megaphone outside the chamber window where councillors were meeting, made it absolutely clear what the staff's position was…

"We know that this [proposal] will make things even more difficult for people who are struggling under a pay freeze from the national ConDem Government, and we do not expect these sort of tactics and this sort of approach from a Labour Council" he said "We are not aware of any other council in England that has taken these steps, where they have threatened the workforce with the possibility of dismissal and re-engagement if they do not sign up to the terms and conditions that lower our pay. It is absolutely astounding that they thought they could get away with this; that they could hand such a document over to us and we would say `That's fine get on with it'

"This is absolutely sickening behaviour from this local authority and we've got to stand against it…We want these proposals withdrawing immediately. If they want to talk to us about pay and grading they can do …and reach a negotiated settlement. That's how things are supposed to work. What we do not expect is a document sliding down the table in front of us telling us that the clock has started ticking and, if the trade unions don't agree to this, staff will be contacted individually to sign up to it; and if staff don't do that they will be dismissed and re-engaged on new terms and conditions in April next year. It's absolutely shocking and appalling.

"If this document is not withdrawn we have got to consider what action we need to take. Our members have been very, very clear that we do not want to take strike action necessarily. But I'll tell you what, if they want to play these games and if they believe this is how industrial relations are supposed to work in this city we cannot rule that out.

"We have sent a clear message today and we will continue to send a clear message that we are not prepared to stand for this and we will fight this by any means that we need to. I said to Councillor Dennett round the front, if they want to take this document off the table and want us to sit down and talk about pay and grading we will do so tomorrow. But not on the basis of a document that puts a gun to our heads

"We are the people who keep this city going. We are the people who, despite job losses of our colleagues and services being slashed, still get up every morning, come to work and do difficult jobs to make sure this city operates. For us to be treated like this by people who are earning three…four…five…six times as much as the people doing those jobs is sickening and disgraceful…"

The trade unions were joined on the lobby by community activists and the United Service User Committee, USUC, campaigning against cut to mental health services…

"We're supporting everybody's campaigns because we're fighting for the same things" said Vee Ball Chair of USUC "We're not prepared to see people suffer any more."

* While Strategic Assistant Mayor, Councillor Paul Dennett (allowances £23,091 with no wage cut in sight), who has special responsibility for `Humanegement and Workplace Reform', was speaking to trade unionists he told the Salford Star that "I don't give you consent to take my photograph". Tough cookies, Mr Strategic Assistant Mayor. You were standing in a public place and we suggest that you read this from the Police website…

"Taking photographs in a public place: There is no law saying that you cannot take photos…No one has the right to ask the photographer to stop, to ask for a copy of the photos or to get them to delete photos unless it is in relation to indecent images."

Perhaps it's just indecent power going to your head…

Brian F Kirkham wrote
at 18:09:55 on 28 October 2012
Michael, firstly i'll apologise for not responding to your post sooner - One has been aiding the celebrations for this years Olympics and elsewhere. Now, as for this Elected mayor thing - i'm sure as one of the parties that pressed for this you are cock-a-hoop that we have one but your joy is tempered somewhat that it's not you in the Big Chair, I read your comment - lets take your suggestions one bit at a time - OK - Reallocate Budgets? From where? You've started Dominos toppling as soon as you move one part of the budget - Play with Highways and you get the Motorist whinging about why they pay Road tax, Environmental Services - You get asked why your Main Bin hasn't been emptied - it all looks available to cutting if you yourself aren't using it. But thanks to certain individuals claiming to speak for all - it follows a mantra by government that services can be cut without any knock-on...now't against the private sector but bring them in and you'll find yourself paying out to service their profit before any improvement is made. then you'll ask why's your council tax gone up again? Sell Assets? What is Left that Peel and their pals haven't carved up for themselves? Leisure was hived off a number of years ago and is already paying for itself as an "Arms-Length" company/ Trust. But then we have Education...now again this has been going on for YEARS. Council using the numbers game to justify it's own self righteous closure programme Close, Merge, Renovate/Build new School, Mess up on the Figures Realise school is TOO Small and start again. It's still called "Building schools for the future" - but given the schools they're building are GOING THEIR OWN WAY thanks to govt. plans shouldn't this programme be mothballed till the school heads show their hand? I mean council builds a new school only for it to come out of the system run things without any LA Input? why are this lot getting 50% of the budget? - Answers on a post please.
 
Winston Smith wrote
at 07:16:14 on 28 October 2012
Micheal Felse is totally wrong when he says *Nobody in Salford cast one vote for our lower paid council staff to have their pay cut*. Of course they did - every single Labour voter voted for exactly that, and they should be bloody well ashamed of themselves.
 
steve U.S.U.C. wrote
at 16:30:10 on 26 October 2012
Like I keep on saying if Ian greedy bastard Stewart wants people of Salford to take pay cuts/freeze & cuts to vital services lead by example or shut the fuck up.
 
Michael Felse wrote
at 18:41:30 on 16 October 2012
Brian, a sea change is possible. Cash spending by Salford Council is around £700million a year. It is able to re-allocate budgets, sell assets, attract inward investment, implement innovative solutions, renegotiate its large borrowing agreements to lower rates, engage a trust pack with Unions to safeguard jobs in return for higher degree of task diversity, appeal to Salford great and good volunteers to help find foster homes, improved its care of our elderly and increase local libraries / leisure services. Mr Mayor could engage parents help in our schools and call in the £££'s loans made to fancy projects. Or take an easy course of action by it cutting council staff pay. Nobody in Salford cast one vote for our lower paid council staff to have their pay cut.
 
Brian F Kirkham wrote
at 14:20:54 on 16 October 2012
Have to ask a general question - in light of todays news - If any of the parties had told you they'd do what they'd done during this process - would you have voted for an elected mayor? - with all the best will in the world towards our current mayor - what were you expecting? a sea change ? I think Not. Either The Mayor and Assistants take a hard look at themselves and see what their actions lead to or I suggest the post of Executive mayor gets ditched and we go back to Leader and Chief Exec. Whilst the Mayor had a commission to decide his pay (How Much??), perhaps he could order a commission for his staff...I still don't see what parts of Ms Spicers Job our Mayor has taken over...
 
Alf wrote
at 11:57:59 on 16 October 2012
I would advocate an All Out Strike . Close the city down . We fight on till we get rid of Mayor Greedy Bastard and his Gang of Traitors .
 
Paul Gerrard wrote
at 09:36:54 on 16 October 2012
Forget 20-30, UoS, it was over 100. UoS wasn't there; I was, along with 100 others (I counted) from the local authority unions. Such is the unwillingness of Labour councillors to meet the public that when we lobby them we have to cover two or three different doors to make sure they don't sneak in behind our backs, so not everyone gets on the photo at the same time. If the council are stupid (no comment) they will test the resolve of the unions and risk a strike that will shut the city down. If they are sensible they will withdraw these draconian proposals (which have nothing at all to do with equal pay, only equal misery) and negotiate.
 
Michael Felse wrote
at 09:36:49 on 16 October 2012
As an ex coal miner that suffered the Thatcher strike this brings back harsh memories. My stomach churns to read it is our Labour Council that plan cuts to low paid workers. If I was a Labour Councillor in Salford I would resign and force a by-election to sent the message to our Mayor that his policy is a disgrace.
 
Not happy wrote
at 07:16:18 on 16 October 2012
I know this may sound daft but what would happen if he did sack all the Salford worker's, it would be mess no council workers to empty the bins no teachers, no surport, or Social workers, his he realy such a dick head.
 
Not Happy wrote
at 07:16:12 on 16 October 2012
Not only have we a dept/mayor with Schizophrenia we also a mayor with the same problem, besides making all the cuts in Salford and telling them that if they don’t take a pay cut that they are going to get sacked. Now he wants to go down to London and March with the T.U.C to add his voice to the thousands in Salford who are feeling the harsh effects of the Coalition's double dip recessions. Well I hope the T.U.C tells him to get lost and get his own house in order and what about all the harsh effects you are doing to the people of Salford. Let’s see who else as a problem its Strategic Assistant Mayor, Councilor Paul Dennett who as paranoia because he didn’t want his picture taken so lets see what he do’s for Salford council he’s a Humanegement and Workplace Reform' worker, what the hell do’s that mean. It probably means he is on about 25,000 a year for doing nothing like the rest of the dept/assistant mayors. ALL THIRTEEN OF THEM.
 
UoS wrote
at 07:15:18 on 16 October 2012
Those photos are the problem right there - how many people has the Trade Union movement managed to engage? 20? 30? Such an innocuous rebellion is unlikely to induce the Council toward a change of policy.
 
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