Union says Northamptonshire County Council workers liken budget slashes to standing on a cliff edge

The article below was published on Thursday 1st March on the Northampton Chronicle & Echo website.  You can view the original article here.

A trade union has slammed Northamptonshire County Council after they claim they were told about the staff pay freeze minutes before the local authority made an official announcement.

Trade union, GMB has condemned Northamptonshire County Council’s budget announcement, which will slash £40 million from rural bus routes, Trading Standards, highway Maintenance and the closure of 21 libraries.

A spokeswoman for the GMB said: “GMB members have reacted with horror and dismay to the latest round of cuts in the council’s budget, likening it to standing on the edge of a cliff, just waiting to be shoved off into the abyss.

“The plans to shut 21 libraries, remove the rural bus routes along with reducing trading standards and highways maintenance is beyond anything they have seen previously and was described as ‘Tory social cleansing by the back door.'”

But the trade union, which represents workers at the county council, says what has most irked it is how little it has been told about the decision not to implement the two per cent pay rise at Angel Square.

She added: “We are very, very angry regarding the announcement of a pay freeze, which was not discussed with us last week in formal pay negotiations, but thrust upon us by email minutes before announcement by the council.

“This is not the way we expect to be treated by a local Government employer, when we have entered in negotiations. We will be asking for further meetings to discuss a pay rise for our members.”

The GMB said that some years ago it entered into an agreement with Northamptonshire County Council, whereby reps were promised better or on-par pay rises in comparison to with NJC.

The spokeswoman said: “The council have broken their agreement with the trade unions on this.

“We look forward to a discussion with the authority in the very near future.”