Blast from the front line as Thurrock Council worker tells of colleagues' fears and the lack of support from senior management

By Neil Speight

6th Nov 2020 | Local News

Council workers meet to discuss their concerns over pay and conditions
Council workers meet to discuss their concerns over pay and conditions

AN angry and impassioned Thurrock Council worker has contacted Thurrock Nub News this evening (Friday, 6 November) to lay bare his concern and frustration at the local authority and the way it has treated its employees who have put themselves in the front line of the battle against the Covid pandemic – while 'gutless' senior managers have sat back, stayed at home and come up with policies designed to damage to life and livelihoods of its staff.

The worker, who we are not naming as we fully understand his fears of persecution and bullying from management, contacted Nub New editor Neil Speight to give vent to his disgust and frustration after the council put out a statement yesterday (Thursday, 5 November) saying concerns by workers that their pay and working conditions were being attacked by the council were unfounded.

However, far from pouring oil on trouble waters, the unattributed statement has caused council workers to slam the council and a spokesperson for the staff says the way no-one from the council is prepared to stand up and be held accountable for the comment sums up the approach of the senior management.

"They are gutless," he says. "Please tell people what the workers feel, but please don't use my name as I am in fear of losing my job if you do.

"But I would be grateful if you can tell the public it's not just the refuse collection crews who are angry and upset. It's also the highways service which is also an essential service where the highways manual workers have worked all through the pandemic and continue to do so.

"The highways service are based with the refuse service and the highways service is also responsible for winter gritting and they too have been threatened with severe pay cuts.

"Please include the highways teams in your article as they too were all at the union meeting. The refuse teams are not the only important service, the highways teams always are the unsung heroes of the council as they also do emergency cover for out of hours emergencies.

"The council have completely played this down and the senior management have let us down.

"My fear is now they will take the easy road and pay off the refuse workers and ignore the rest because of fear of strike action on the bins.

"The highways team are smaller and not as prominent as waste, and the council is also outsourcing the highways work to a private company - doing it slowly until the whole lot is gone.

"And it is important that people know who is on the front line working for them. Few of the senior management have been in work since March. Due to the pandemic they are looking after themselves and leaving the workers to come in and risk getting Covid. They do everything by phone and email.

"The director has not been seen since March. Luke Love and Peter Wright are management and occasionally they pop in but in truth they are really running the show from the comfort and safety of their homes.

"Now they are trying to cut our wages after we've been in work all over the pandemic with no thanks whatsoever."

Thurrock Council has been asked to comment.


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