LABOUR ATTACK ‘TORY/LIB DEM’ PLAN TO SACK 9,000 COUNCIL WORKERS
AND THEN REHIRE THEM ON LOWER TERMS AND CONDITIONS
The controversial extraordinarily expensive extraordinary meeting on 11 July provided a fitting platform for the latest ‘hare-brained scheme’ to come off the ConDem ‘production line’ with both parties putting forward a proposal to ‘sack 9,000+ council employees and then rehire them on worse terms and conditions’.
The proposal was put forward as a way to fund the ‘reintroduction of free post 16 transport for students’ but critics including Labour councillors and trade unions have branded the proposal ‘a plan for poverty wages’. Unite/Unison trade unions have highlighted that many council employees already face a ‘cost of living crisis’ with wages falling in real terms as pay increases are pegged at 1%.
Labour are also pointing out Tory Guy Opperman’s position on the introduction of the ‘living wage’ and his public stance on tackling low wages in Northumberland and Labour are demanding that the MP ‘clears up his position on the proposal to sack and rehire council workers’.
A Labour group spokesperson said
“Guy Opperman needs to distance himself from the latest ‘barmy idea’ to come from his councillors in Northumberland. Does he support their proposal to sack council employees and rehire them on worse terms and conditions?”
Unison trade union recently released figures which show that their campaign to increase wages for hundreds of local government employees in Northumberland by £1 per hour would mean an over saving to the government as it would lift these employees out of ‘low paid welfare top-up’s’. They expressed their dismay saying ‘the proposals would mean a race to the bottom in Northumberland’.
Laura Pidcock, a Labour councillor from Cramlington said
“This is a dangerous but typical proposal from the Tories and Lib Dems, the Labour administration are definitely ruling it out. We’ve been here before when the Tories and Lib Dems entered into a ‘secret contract’ from 2008 which cost 1500 people their jobs. This proposal shows the ConDems have a very destructive plan to introduce ‘poverty wages’ for their remaining workers. At a time when we have a cost of living crisis, when wages have stagnated and prices are rocketing the last thing any working person needs is an attack on their terms and conditions of employment!"
· The proposal would put the council on a collision course with trade unions and would effectively ‘rip up national terms and conditions’ negotiations
· It would potentially affect every employee.