Union slams 'appalling behaviour of council's senior managers and says key workers including environment staff and care workers are planning to step up their action in battle against cuts to pay and conditions

  Posted: 02.12.20 at 15:08 by The Editor

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ANGRY union officers have slammed Thurrock Council for its 'brutal plans' to cut workers' pay and conditions.

And the Unite union has vowed to fiercely resist the council's plans which it says could cut a care worker's pay by up to £8,000 while there have been no proposals to cut the terms of senior officers, like its chief executive Lyn Carpenter who earns substantially more than £200,000 a year.

The union said the proposed pay cuts, which the council has previously denied putting on the table, are an assault on workers who have been in the front line providing essential services during the pandemic.

In a statement today (Wednesday, 2 December) the union says: "The very workers who have been supporting residents, by providing key services, throughout the current health crisis, are furious that they are now the target of proposed cuts of between £2,000 - £3,500 a year for refuse workers, highway maintenance and street cleaners.

"Care workers employed by the council face cuts of up to £8,000 according to documents provided to the union by Thurrock Council. Meanwhile, the council has not proposed any cuts to the pay and conditions of senior management. Lyn Carpenter, the chief executive earns almost £200,000 a year. In April this year Thurrock Nub News reported on the rates of pay of top officials.

At a meeting between Unite and the local authority on 21 October, the council presented plans to remove a number of allowances which make up the workers' yearly salary. Thurrock News was leaked a copy of a document reportedly presented to that meeting, though the council says the one we were sent was ‘doctored’.

Yesterday we reported further on some workers’ concerns, highlighting a petition they plan to send direct to councils. Now the union says it will step up its campaign at the council and rally support to oppose any attempt to cut the pay of key workers who have protected residents since the beginning of the pandemic.

Unite regional officer Michelle Cook said: "There is absolutely no way Unite will accept any proposal to slash the pay of workers who have provided essential services to the residents of Thurrock throughout this pandemic.

"Over the coming weeks and months Unite will be stepping up its campaign to oppose these brutal pay cuts which will leave key workers struggling to make ends meet. Unsurprisingly, the council's plans do not include any proposals to cut the pay of the highest earners.

“The council's leadership have behaved appallingly since our union first legitimately exposed the authority's proposals. If the Chief Executive Lyn Carpenter continues to sanction this sort of behaviour it will only make matters worse."

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