Council facing mass walkout as strike action looms

This Is Wiltshire: The council faces strike action by staff The council faces strike action by staff

MANY Swindon Council services could grind to a halt next month as hundreds of staff go on strike.

Earlier this week Unison announced strike action on July 10 by local government workers in a dispute over a national pay increase.

There are 815 union workers within the council of which 785 are members of Unison. The rest are with GMB and Unite which are balloting their members over action on the same date.

The disruption will be heightened as the National Union of Teachers (NUT) has also called a strike for that day, which could see the closure of some schools.

The full impact of the strike is not yet known as members do not have to let their employers know in advance of the date whether they are joining in with the action.

Negotiations are taking place between Unison and the council over which services will be exempt from the strike because of their importance, but libraries and waste collection are among those which may be affected.

At the heart of the dispute is a disagreement over pay increases.

The Government’s offer is for increases of between 1.25 per cent and 4.66 per cent for those on the bottom six pay points and one per cent for the remainder of employees. Chief officers have not been offered a pay increase.

Tanya Palmer, the South West regional manager for Unison, said the strike was aimed at sending a message to the Government.

She said: “There has been a three-year pay freeze for local government workers, and our members – many of whom are very low paid women – have said enough is enough.

“The rise which the Govern-ment have offered would still mean workers are worse off, so our members want to send a message that this is not acceptable.

“This is one of the lowest paid groups of workers in the country and it is not right that public sector workers are treated in this way.

“No-one wants to go on strike as those who do lose a day’s pay, but that shows how strongly everyone feels about this.

“What I would say to people affected by the strike is that we need to stay strong. These people do a vital job and deserve to be rewarded.

“We are pushing for a four per cent rise but that is a negotiation position. If the Government do not listen then we are prepared to take more action in September.”

The result of the ballot by the other two unions is expected later this month. The NUT action follows several days of action earlier this year and last year in a dispute over pay and working conditions.

The effect on schools is not yet known but as soon as more details are available they will be reported here on our website.

Comments (15)

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7:48am Thu 26 Jun 14

Chowmai says...

There is something seriously wrong in a country when those who choose to live on benefits receive a year on year 'pay rise' whilst those who endure year on year increased work loads, added stress at work, whilst struggling with a reduction of resources available to them suffer a three year wage freeze whilst the cost of living climbs around them.
There is something seriously wrong in a country when those who choose to live on benefits receive a year on year 'pay rise' whilst those who endure year on year increased work loads, added stress at work, whilst struggling with a reduction of resources available to them suffer a three year wage freeze whilst the cost of living climbs around them. Chowmai
  • Score: 35

8:25am Thu 26 Jun 14

house on the hill says...

Chowmai wrote:
There is something seriously wrong in a country when those who choose to live on benefits receive a year on year 'pay rise' whilst those who endure year on year increased work loads, added stress at work, whilst struggling with a reduction of resources available to them suffer a three year wage freeze whilst the cost of living climbs around them.
Very good point indeed. The other question is do we really need so many public sector workers, they could save a fortune and be able to afford decent pay rises if they worked more efficiently and dragged their working practices and staff performance and attitudes into the 21st century. But yes a very strange double standards society we seem to have.
[quote][p][bold]Chowmai[/bold] wrote: There is something seriously wrong in a country when those who choose to live on benefits receive a year on year 'pay rise' whilst those who endure year on year increased work loads, added stress at work, whilst struggling with a reduction of resources available to them suffer a three year wage freeze whilst the cost of living climbs around them.[/p][/quote]Very good point indeed. The other question is do we really need so many public sector workers, they could save a fortune and be able to afford decent pay rises if they worked more efficiently and dragged their working practices and staff performance and attitudes into the 21st century. But yes a very strange double standards society we seem to have. house on the hill
  • Score: 8

8:51am Thu 26 Jun 14

Wildwestener says...

house on the hill wrote:
Chowmai wrote:
There is something seriously wrong in a country when those who choose to live on benefits receive a year on year 'pay rise' whilst those who endure year on year increased work loads, added stress at work, whilst struggling with a reduction of resources available to them suffer a three year wage freeze whilst the cost of living climbs around them.
Very good point indeed. The other question is do we really need so many public sector workers, they could save a fortune and be able to afford decent pay rises if they worked more efficiently and dragged their working practices and staff performance and attitudes into the 21st century. But yes a very strange double standards society we seem to have.
the major problem with public finances is that they are treated with annuality which means if you make savings in a year, the money is taken from your budget forever. There is no opportunity to save money from one year to next to deal with the vagaries of life so there is a counter-incentive for public sector managers to save money. Businesses would not be able to operate like this (it would be like never being allowed to hold a cash reserve) yet public sector is supposed to act like private sector when it can't. This is of course because the treasury runs the whole of govt. like this.
[quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Chowmai[/bold] wrote: There is something seriously wrong in a country when those who choose to live on benefits receive a year on year 'pay rise' whilst those who endure year on year increased work loads, added stress at work, whilst struggling with a reduction of resources available to them suffer a three year wage freeze whilst the cost of living climbs around them.[/p][/quote]Very good point indeed. The other question is do we really need so many public sector workers, they could save a fortune and be able to afford decent pay rises if they worked more efficiently and dragged their working practices and staff performance and attitudes into the 21st century. But yes a very strange double standards society we seem to have.[/p][/quote]the major problem with public finances is that they are treated with annuality which means if you make savings in a year, the money is taken from your budget forever. There is no opportunity to save money from one year to next to deal with the vagaries of life so there is a counter-incentive for public sector managers to save money. Businesses would not be able to operate like this (it would be like never being allowed to hold a cash reserve) yet public sector is supposed to act like private sector when it can't. This is of course because the treasury runs the whole of govt. like this. Wildwestener
  • Score: 11

8:55am Thu 26 Jun 14

Oldswindonian says...

house on the hill wrote:
Chowmai wrote:
There is something seriously wrong in a country when those who choose to live on benefits receive a year on year 'pay rise' whilst those who endure year on year increased work loads, added stress at work, whilst struggling with a reduction of resources available to them suffer a three year wage freeze whilst the cost of living climbs around them.
Very good point indeed. The other question is do we really need so many public sector workers, they could save a fortune and be able to afford decent pay rises if they worked more efficiently and dragged their working practices and staff performance and attitudes into the 21st century. But yes a very strange double standards society we seem to have.
House on the Hill- You are right to a point about working practices and attitudes in local govt and I have witnessed these,but only to a point and I would ask that you and others why use those tired phrases about council workers,do not tarnish all with the same brush. I am in local govt and for the past 5 yrs have been leaving home at 6 in the morning at get home at 6 in the evening and rarely get a break all day because I want my service to the public to be great.. There are many others who care very much and want to make public services better who are in the same boat as I am. I also have to say that my many years in the private sector where I will hopefully return soon were far more comfortable with paid christmas parties, travel perks and quite often two fingers to the customer .
[quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Chowmai[/bold] wrote: There is something seriously wrong in a country when those who choose to live on benefits receive a year on year 'pay rise' whilst those who endure year on year increased work loads, added stress at work, whilst struggling with a reduction of resources available to them suffer a three year wage freeze whilst the cost of living climbs around them.[/p][/quote]Very good point indeed. The other question is do we really need so many public sector workers, they could save a fortune and be able to afford decent pay rises if they worked more efficiently and dragged their working practices and staff performance and attitudes into the 21st century. But yes a very strange double standards society we seem to have.[/p][/quote]House on the Hill- You are right to a point about working practices and attitudes in local govt and I have witnessed these,but only to a point and I would ask that you and others why use those tired phrases about council workers,do not tarnish all with the same brush. I am in local govt and for the past 5 yrs have been leaving home at 6 in the morning at get home at 6 in the evening and rarely get a break all day because I want my service to the public to be great.. There are many others who care very much and want to make public services better who are in the same boat as I am. I also have to say that my many years in the private sector where I will hopefully return soon were far more comfortable with paid christmas parties, travel perks and quite often two fingers to the customer . Oldswindonian
  • Score: 18

9:22am Thu 26 Jun 14

A.Baron-Cohen says...

1-4% payrise for public employees... we should outsource even more to Capita to offset the increasing cost of council workers
1-4% payrise for public employees... we should outsource even more to Capita to offset the increasing cost of council workers A.Baron-Cohen
  • Score: -6

9:34am Thu 26 Jun 14

Alex English says...

Wildwestener wrote:
house on the hill wrote:
Chowmai wrote:
There is something seriously wrong in a country when those who choose to live on benefits receive a year on year 'pay rise' whilst those who endure year on year increased work loads, added stress at work, whilst struggling with a reduction of resources available to them suffer a three year wage freeze whilst the cost of living climbs around them.
Very good point indeed. The other question is do we really need so many public sector workers, they could save a fortune and be able to afford decent pay rises if they worked more efficiently and dragged their working practices and staff performance and attitudes into the 21st century. But yes a very strange double standards society we seem to have.
the major problem with public finances is that they are treated with annuality which means if you make savings in a year, the money is taken from your budget forever. There is no opportunity to save money from one year to next to deal with the vagaries of life so there is a counter-incentive for public sector managers to save money. Businesses would not be able to operate like this (it would be like never being allowed to hold a cash reserve) yet public sector is supposed to act like private sector when it can't. This is of course because the treasury runs the whole of govt. like this.
This is very true. I saw it for myself when I worked in the public sector, one manager in particular used to come round the office every February asking for a list of ideas for things he could purchase in order to use up his remaining budget. One year it was a full-size snooker table and a new coffee machine to replace the previous coffee machine which was less than six months old. That was just the office slush fund. When it came to overall budgets the waste was horrendous.

If the public knew just how much waste and needless spending there is in the state sector there would be riots and mass non-payment of taxes.

The same mentality is the problem with public sector pay rises. For decades, the state sector always received pay rises, no questions asked, no need to perform well, just an annual pay rise (sometimes two different pay rises each year) as a matter of course.

That was dubious even when the economy was working well, the welfare state hadn't become unaffordable, when the NHS almost balanced its books and when there were 4 million less immigrants in the country.

The unions won't give up such automatic 'rights' for the same reason budgets are frittered away to their maximum. It's all about preserving the status quo and making sure that what happened every year for the past four decades happens next year.

The entire public sector needs reform and bringing into the contemporary era. As it stands, it's just unaffordable. Eventually, something will have to give.
[quote][p][bold]Wildwestener[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Chowmai[/bold] wrote: There is something seriously wrong in a country when those who choose to live on benefits receive a year on year 'pay rise' whilst those who endure year on year increased work loads, added stress at work, whilst struggling with a reduction of resources available to them suffer a three year wage freeze whilst the cost of living climbs around them.[/p][/quote]Very good point indeed. The other question is do we really need so many public sector workers, they could save a fortune and be able to afford decent pay rises if they worked more efficiently and dragged their working practices and staff performance and attitudes into the 21st century. But yes a very strange double standards society we seem to have.[/p][/quote]the major problem with public finances is that they are treated with annuality which means if you make savings in a year, the money is taken from your budget forever. There is no opportunity to save money from one year to next to deal with the vagaries of life so there is a counter-incentive for public sector managers to save money. Businesses would not be able to operate like this (it would be like never being allowed to hold a cash reserve) yet public sector is supposed to act like private sector when it can't. This is of course because the treasury runs the whole of govt. like this.[/p][/quote]This is very true. I saw it for myself when I worked in the public sector, one manager in particular used to come round the office every February asking for a list of ideas for things he could purchase in order to use up his remaining budget. One year it was a full-size snooker table and a new coffee machine to replace the previous coffee machine which was less than six months old. That was just the office slush fund. When it came to overall budgets the waste was horrendous. If the public knew just how much waste and needless spending there is in the state sector there would be riots and mass non-payment of taxes. The same mentality is the problem with public sector pay rises. For decades, the state sector always received pay rises, no questions asked, no need to perform well, just an annual pay rise (sometimes two different pay rises each year) as a matter of course. That was dubious even when the economy was working well, the welfare state hadn't become unaffordable, when the NHS almost balanced its books and when there were 4 million less immigrants in the country. The unions won't give up such automatic 'rights' for the same reason budgets are frittered away to their maximum. It's all about preserving the status quo and making sure that what happened every year for the past four decades happens next year. The entire public sector needs reform and bringing into the contemporary era. As it stands, it's just unaffordable. Eventually, something will have to give. Alex English
  • Score: 3

9:35am Thu 26 Jun 14

Localboy86 says...

Any payrise should be in line with performance. A blanket 4% is a stupid idea
Any payrise should be in line with performance. A blanket 4% is a stupid idea Localboy86
  • Score: 6

10:10am Thu 26 Jun 14

Al Smith says...

Localboy86 wrote:
Any payrise should be in line with performance. A blanket 4% is a stupid idea
How? Social Workers being set targets and then being told they haven't taken enough children off their parents this year?

How many highly paid managers would be employed to oversee the target chasing culture? Managers being employed instead of the workers that deliver the public service.
[quote][p][bold]Localboy86[/bold] wrote: Any payrise should be in line with performance. A blanket 4% is a stupid idea[/p][/quote]How? Social Workers being set targets and then being told they haven't taken enough children off their parents this year? How many highly paid managers would be employed to oversee the target chasing culture? Managers being employed instead of the workers that deliver the public service. Al Smith
  • Score: -3

10:37am Thu 26 Jun 14

swindondad says...

Tanya Palmer, the South West regional manager for Unison, said the strike was aimed at sending a message to the Government.

Proves a point the strike is ALL about politics and NOTHING to do with PAY.

The pay rises of up to 4.66% is on offer for the lower paid staff appears more than reasonable.
Tanya Palmer, the South West regional manager for Unison, said the strike was aimed at sending a message to the Government. Proves a point the strike is ALL about politics and NOTHING to do with PAY. The pay rises of up to 4.66% is on offer for the lower paid staff appears more than reasonable. swindondad
  • Score: 10

11:00am Thu 26 Jun 14

Alex English says...

Al Smith wrote:
Localboy86 wrote:
Any payrise should be in line with performance. A blanket 4% is a stupid idea
How? Social Workers being set targets and then being told they haven't taken enough children off their parents this year?

How many highly paid managers would be employed to oversee the target chasing culture? Managers being employed instead of the workers that deliver the public service.
All employees in any properly run organisation should have agreed, measurable objectives.

It should then be very easy to indentify which employees have performed well against those measurables and which ones haven't. Pay rewards/increases are then able to be awarded based on actual performance and contribution.

If you hand the incompetent office slacker the same 5% increase as the members of the team who work tirelessly at a high level, how is that in any way fair or likely to encourage better performance?

While it's entirely understandable that many in the public sector are vehemently opposed to performance related pay, it's the only truly fair way to hand out yet more of the taxpayer's money to state sector workers.

Taxpayers don't mind rewarding those who do a good job. It's those who are in there, sitting it out for their pension, who have no intention of putting any effort in (and who don't actually offer much even if they did) that people get wholly sick of.
[quote][p][bold]Al Smith[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Localboy86[/bold] wrote: Any payrise should be in line with performance. A blanket 4% is a stupid idea[/p][/quote]How? Social Workers being set targets and then being told they haven't taken enough children off their parents this year? How many highly paid managers would be employed to oversee the target chasing culture? Managers being employed instead of the workers that deliver the public service.[/p][/quote]All employees in any properly run organisation should have agreed, measurable objectives. It should then be very easy to indentify which employees have performed well against those measurables and which ones haven't. Pay rewards/increases are then able to be awarded based on actual performance and contribution. If you hand the incompetent office slacker the same 5% increase as the members of the team who work tirelessly at a high level, how is that in any way fair or likely to encourage better performance? While it's entirely understandable that many in the public sector are vehemently opposed to performance related pay, it's the only truly fair way to hand out yet more of the taxpayer's money to state sector workers. Taxpayers don't mind rewarding those who do a good job. It's those who are in there, sitting it out for their pension, who have no intention of putting any effort in (and who don't actually offer much even if they did) that people get wholly sick of. Alex English
  • Score: 7

11:18am Thu 26 Jun 14

BCDR99 says...

Council workers on strike? Would anyone notice the deterioration in service? Only if the refuse collectors went on strike would anyone give a hoot. And with the irregular nature that they seem to collect our rubbish I've often thought they have been on strike sometimes.
Council workers on strike? Would anyone notice the deterioration in service? Only if the refuse collectors went on strike would anyone give a hoot. And with the irregular nature that they seem to collect our rubbish I've often thought they have been on strike sometimes. BCDR99
  • Score: 7

1:42pm Thu 26 Jun 14

house on the hill says...

Oldswindonian wrote:
house on the hill wrote:
Chowmai wrote:
There is something seriously wrong in a country when those who choose to live on benefits receive a year on year 'pay rise' whilst those who endure year on year increased work loads, added stress at work, whilst struggling with a reduction of resources available to them suffer a three year wage freeze whilst the cost of living climbs around them.
Very good point indeed. The other question is do we really need so many public sector workers, they could save a fortune and be able to afford decent pay rises if they worked more efficiently and dragged their working practices and staff performance and attitudes into the 21st century. But yes a very strange double standards society we seem to have.
House on the Hill- You are right to a point about working practices and attitudes in local govt and I have witnessed these,but only to a point and I would ask that you and others why use those tired phrases about council workers,do not tarnish all with the same brush. I am in local govt and for the past 5 yrs have been leaving home at 6 in the morning at get home at 6 in the evening and rarely get a break all day because I want my service to the public to be great.. There are many others who care very much and want to make public services better who are in the same boat as I am. I also have to say that my many years in the private sector where I will hopefully return soon were far more comfortable with paid christmas parties, travel perks and quite often two fingers to the customer .
If you have read previous posts you will see that I have very often made that point that it doesn't apply to everyone in the public sector.

My experiences of the public sector would be based around an 80/20 rule. 20% of the staff do 80% of the work and basically stop the whole thing from falling over because they do care and know what they are doing and are frustrated to hell by the attitudes of those around and above them (and generally leave).

The other 80% manage to do the remaining 20% of the work assuming they are not off sick or redoing the work they got wrong yet again or in yet another meaningless meeting that achieves nothing apart from the date of the next meeting.

Not sure where you worked in the private sector as my current job is flat out and our customers always come first no matter what because if they don't they go elsewhere (unlike the council who have a captive audience to play to!) and we don't get 30 days leave, have a final salary pension and get away with endless sick days and errors and understand that customer service is a 2 way thing. If you want good service from others then you have to provide it yourself too. Sadly too many live in this double standards world where they expect far more of others than they give themselves
[quote][p][bold]Oldswindonian[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Chowmai[/bold] wrote: There is something seriously wrong in a country when those who choose to live on benefits receive a year on year 'pay rise' whilst those who endure year on year increased work loads, added stress at work, whilst struggling with a reduction of resources available to them suffer a three year wage freeze whilst the cost of living climbs around them.[/p][/quote]Very good point indeed. The other question is do we really need so many public sector workers, they could save a fortune and be able to afford decent pay rises if they worked more efficiently and dragged their working practices and staff performance and attitudes into the 21st century. But yes a very strange double standards society we seem to have.[/p][/quote]House on the Hill- You are right to a point about working practices and attitudes in local govt and I have witnessed these,but only to a point and I would ask that you and others why use those tired phrases about council workers,do not tarnish all with the same brush. I am in local govt and for the past 5 yrs have been leaving home at 6 in the morning at get home at 6 in the evening and rarely get a break all day because I want my service to the public to be great.. There are many others who care very much and want to make public services better who are in the same boat as I am. I also have to say that my many years in the private sector where I will hopefully return soon were far more comfortable with paid christmas parties, travel perks and quite often two fingers to the customer .[/p][/quote]If you have read previous posts you will see that I have very often made that point that it doesn't apply to everyone in the public sector. My experiences of the public sector would be based around an 80/20 rule. 20% of the staff do 80% of the work and basically stop the whole thing from falling over because they do care and know what they are doing and are frustrated to hell by the attitudes of those around and above them (and generally leave). The other 80% manage to do the remaining 20% of the work assuming they are not off sick or redoing the work they got wrong yet again or in yet another meaningless meeting that achieves nothing apart from the date of the next meeting. Not sure where you worked in the private sector as my current job is flat out and our customers always come first no matter what because if they don't they go elsewhere (unlike the council who have a captive audience to play to!) and we don't get 30 days leave, have a final salary pension and get away with endless sick days and errors and understand that customer service is a 2 way thing. If you want good service from others then you have to provide it yourself too. Sadly too many live in this double standards world where they expect far more of others than they give themselves house on the hill
  • Score: 3

1:55pm Thu 26 Jun 14

trolley dolley says...

BCDR99 wrote:
Council workers on strike? Would anyone notice the deterioration in service? Only if the refuse collectors went on strike would anyone give a hoot. And with the irregular nature that they seem to collect our rubbish I've often thought they have been on strike sometimes.
I completely agree with you BCDR99.

If the strikers are going to lose one days pay, then maybe we could have an arrangement for a regular strike of say two days a week. This should cut the salary budget by about 40%, a good saving for the tax payer.

We would not notice much of a degradation of service, in fact we may see an improvement.

The way to put an end to all this nonsense is for the council to put their large departments out to private enterprise.

Maybe they could start with the housing department by having a management company to manage the council houses with the Council keeping control and ownership as the Landlord.

This system works very well in the private sector so why not in the public sector.

Most off the council employees would not know what had hit them.
[quote][p][bold]BCDR99[/bold] wrote: Council workers on strike? Would anyone notice the deterioration in service? Only if the refuse collectors went on strike would anyone give a hoot. And with the irregular nature that they seem to collect our rubbish I've often thought they have been on strike sometimes.[/p][/quote]I completely agree with you BCDR99. If the strikers are going to lose one days pay, then maybe we could have an arrangement for a regular strike of say two days a week. This should cut the salary budget by about 40%, a good saving for the tax payer. We would not notice much of a degradation of service, in fact we may see an improvement. The way to put an end to all this nonsense is for the council to put their large departments out to private enterprise. Maybe they could start with the housing department by having a management company to manage the council houses with the Council keeping control and ownership as the Landlord. This system works very well in the private sector so why not in the public sector. Most off the council employees would not know what had hit them. trolley dolley
  • Score: 4

5:03pm Thu 26 Jun 14

beach1e says...

when it takes 3 months to get a response from this council to an emai and even then ,no apology for a delay , i cant say ill notice if they are in work or not. more strikes please..will save on the council tax bill.Most things are done by computers now, they should be able to lay off a lot of staff also due to cheaper outsourcing.
when it takes 3 months to get a response from this council to an emai and even then ,no apology for a delay , i cant say ill notice if they are in work or not. more strikes please..will save on the council tax bill.Most things are done by computers now, they should be able to lay off a lot of staff also due to cheaper outsourcing. beach1e
  • Score: 0

10:43pm Thu 26 Jun 14

Clippies says...

Tanya Palmer seems to have got her facts wrong...I worked for the Council quite a few years back and all womens pay was being brought to equal that of their male counterparts. I now work in the private sector and I'm still waiting for my pay and benefits to equal that of the public sector...would I strike to get a better pay and benefits deal? No...I'd go and look for a better package elsewhere...somethin
g council workers will never find as they already know their pay and benefits far exceed that of the private sector
Tanya Palmer seems to have got her facts wrong...I worked for the Council quite a few years back and all womens pay was being brought to equal that of their male counterparts. I now work in the private sector and I'm still waiting for my pay and benefits to equal that of the public sector...would I strike to get a better pay and benefits deal? No...I'd go and look for a better package elsewhere...somethin g council workers will never find as they already know their pay and benefits far exceed that of the private sector Clippies
  • Score: 4

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