Journal Column – 21st September

The cloud of uncertainty hanging over thousands of county council employees regarding the pay equalisation proposals is understandably causing a great deal of anxiety. From the representations I’ve received, it appears employees have been informed they have little choice but to accept the proposal put before them, even if the consequence is a loss of approximately £3000 or more a year.

Whilst the county council may plead it is only following instructions, there are ways and means of carrying out such duties – forcing the hand of vulnerable, often low-paid employees is not the most appropriate method. Negotiation, cooperation and consultation should always be at the forefront of any changes in pay scales, terms and/or conditions.

What doesn’t help the situation is the blatant hypocrisy of Labour party elected members who say they are ‘dismayed by the swingeing cuts being forced on council workers’ and then go on to ‘promise to stand up for the workers facing compulsory changes in their pay’. The Labour party conveniently fails to mention that the Labour-Independent members of the County Council’s Executive Board unanimously voted in favour of implementing these changes. The Labour party must wake up to the fact it is in charge of the county council and sits at the top table with their Independent colleagues.

In my election victory speech last year I called for the highest earners within the council to take the biggest share of any cost cutting measure. I’ve not seen any signal of this and the basis of the Council’s proposed cuts seem completely unfair to hard-working, grassroots employees.

The attempt at political spinning by Labour on this significant injustice is nothing short of hypocrisy and is a slap in the face to residents which put their faith in Labour councillors. As workers face the double-whammy of increased living costs and real term income cuts, Labour councillors either need to accept responsibility for their attacks on ordinary working people or pull out of the ruling coalition. This sort of two faced positioning is gutter politics.

Discussion Area - Submit a comment

Your reply will be moderated and not appear immediately. You can prepare your text in a word processor before pasting it into the box, but formatting such as bold and colour will not appear.