Demonstration planned outside Cambridgeshire County Council by trade union UNISON over workers pay

PUBLISHED: 15:32 20 May 2014 | UPDATED: 17:15 20 May 2014

Shire Hall, Chambridge.

Shire Hall, Chambridge.

Archant

A trade union is staging a lunchtime demonstration outside Cambridgeshire County Council’s headquarters over council workers’ pay tomorrow.

UNISON will ballot members for industrial action on the one per cent pay rise that has been offered by the council, which they describe as “completely unacceptable”.

Britain’s biggest trade union says that workers in Cambridgeshire have suffered a three year pay freeze on wages and a below inflation increase of one per cent last year.

They claim 71 per cent of UNISON members have already rejected this year’s one per cent pay offer following a pay consultation, which signalled the go-ahead for the industrial action ballot.

Rob Turner, UNISON Cambridgeshire branch secretary, said: “The one per cent pay offer by the employers is completely unacceptable and a disgrace.

“How do local politicians expect to win votes in the European and local elections when they continue to support pay cuts and stash savings that have already been made?

“My UNISON members working for Cambridgeshire Council are keeping services and schools running but still being taken for granted.

“The council have got millions stashed away in reserves but still they continue to offer the lowest paid as little as possible and next to nothing for everyone else.

“UNISON members working for the council have already had their local terms and conditions slashed in the name of savings – when will these cuts ever stop.

“My members who work for the council are suffering from rising fuel, travel, food and childcare costs. They and their families are worth more and the local councillors need to recognise this by stopping the cuts and giving priority to jobs and decent pay.”

A Cambs County Council spokesman said: “The council has a dedicated team of people delivering vital services in challenging times.

“Cambridgeshire County Council has one of the lowest reserves in the country, in 2013 the Local Government Association identified that we were ranked 331st out of 338 for the level of General Reserve that we held.

“A recent independent external review suggested these levels were too low. The council’s modest level of reserves are vital for managing the unexpected pressures that hit council services.

“Pay increases for our lowest paid staff is set nationally and a rise of one per cent was given last year. Management bands are set locally and last year a smaller rise of between 0.5 per cent and 0.8 per cent was given.”

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