Uni­son ready for strike bal­lot af­ter pay of­fer re­jected

Surrey Advertiser - - Front Page -

pay of­fer, which pro­posed an in­crease of 1% for most mem­bers of staff, with the low­est paid re­ceiv­ing slightly more and the high­est paid re­ceiv­ing no in­crease.

High-per­form­ing staff would also re­ceive a non­con­sol­i­dated 1% in­crease for the 2017/18 fi­nan­cial year.

Mr Couch­man said: “The gov­ern­ment’s own re­port from the Of­fice of Man­power Eco­nomics shows that pub­lic sec­tor work­ers’ pay lev­els have dropped steadily over the last seven years.

“No-one se­ri­ously be­lieves that pub­lic sec­tor work­ers should have yet another year of pay mis­ery. Yet Sur­rey County Coun­cil are not just sug­gest­ing a 1% pay cap they want to im­pose a to­tal cost-of-liv­ing pay freeze on their staff.

“Af­ter years of be­low-in­fla­tion in­creases, this is just a slap in the face for loyal, long-stand­ing em­ploy­ees.”

He added he was con­fi­dent any bal­lot on in­dus­trial ac­tion would meet the 50% thresh­old re­quired to ap­prove strike ac­tion.

Mr Couch­man said: “We firmly be­lieve that it is in the coun­cil’s gift to re­solve this dis­pute with a fair of­fer.

“Last year, mem­bers ac­cepted what was ac­tu­ally a fairly poor of­fer which we im­proved through ne­go­ti­a­tion.

“This year the coun­cil has come back with an even worse of­fer, which is a zero cost-of-liv­ing in­crease for hun­dreds of staff.”

In 2016, al­most all county coun­cil em­ploy­ees re­ceived pay in­creases av­er­ag­ing 2.5%.

A Sur­rey County Coun­cil spokesman said: “De­spite the se­vere pres­sures on our bud­get the coun­cil put to­gether a pro­posal that in­cluded pay rises for staff and con­sulted the two main unions on th­ese pro­pos­als, as one of th­ese unions re­jected the of­fer fur­ther dis­cus­sions will con­tinue.”

The county coun­cil has re­cently drawn crit­i­cism over high pay for its se­nior of­fi­cers. In Septem­ber 2017, it was re­vealed out­go­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive David McNulty was paid £230,719 in 2016/17 - an in­crease of £14,477 on the pre­vi­ous year.

Lib­eral Demo­crat coun­cil­lors also crit­i­cised the coun­cil for ad­ver­tis­ing for a “head of strat­egy” to be paid more than £55,000.

Cllr Hazel Wat­son, leader of Sur­rey Lib­eral Democrats, said: “I am very con­cerned that the county coun­cil is re­cruit­ing for such a post in the middle of a fi­nan­cial cri­sis and when ser­vices are be­ing cut and re­dun­dan­cies con­sid­ered.”

More than 900 peo­ple have signed a pe­ti­tion started by Leather­head res­i­dent Gerald Har­vard call­ing on the coun­cil to stop pay­ing

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