Beds Council Workers Defy Wage-Cutting

Midlands GMB members on the march against the Tory coalition government’s savage budget cuts
Midlands GMB members on the march against the Tory coalition government’s savage budget cuts

BEDFORDSHIRE Council’s ultimatum to employees to sign new wage-cutting contracts or face the sack has been met with defiance by council workers, who have refused to sign.

The GMB stated yesterday: ‘GMB is concerned that Central Bedfordshire Council, as a result of the council’s ultimatum to staff to sign new contracts or lose their jobs, leaves the council not knowing how many members of staff of the Social Services department will turn up for work on 1st October.

‘The council’s two per cent cuts programme required council staff to sign new contracts by 1st October 2011 or be sacked.

‘Despite the threat of losing their jobs, 600 members of staff, many of them currently working in the Social Services Department, have not signed new contracts.’

Martin Foster, GMB Beds County Branch Secretary, said yesterday: ‘Social Services staff who have not signed new contracts may believe that they are sacked or may have found new jobs elsewhere.

‘It’s all very well dealing in ultimatums but sometimes people call your bluff.

‘It seems that the council has got itself into the position of not knowing how many staff it will have from 1st October.

‘Will those members of staff who haven’t signed a new contract turn up for work? If they do, will they be sent home?

‘If they are not sent home but allowed to work, will the council end up with 600 Employment Tribunals for unlawful deductions of wages if it doesn’t pay them their full contracted rates of pay?

‘If it pays them the full rates, what will the other members of staff think who are on new contracts and being paid less?

‘Let’s not forget that the council’s overspend did not materialise and they are £3.8 million better off than when they proposed the two per cent cut in wages.

‘GMB are asking the council to use 1.2 million of this 3.8 million to stop this unreasonable and unfair cut which has clearly now become unnecessary.

‘Surely the councillors must see this is a far better way forward than to demoralise staff further, lose experienced loyal staff and put services at risk.

‘GMB would like the council to tell the residents of Central Bedfordshire how they plan to provide vital social services to them, and in particular the weak and vulnerable, after 1st October.

‘GMB is urging any members of staff who are worried about their future at the council to get in touch with the GMB Baldock office.’