Protests as workers ‘on the breadline’ bear brunt of cuts

City Budget.Councillor  Simon Clement-Jones announce the City Budger at a press conference at the Town Hall .

City Budget.Councillor Simon Clement-Jones announce the City Budger at a press conference at the Town Hall .

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WORRIED Sheffield Council staff fear redundancy and freezes to pay and increments will leave them ‘on the breadline’.

Workers questioned why they are bearing the brunt of the cuts when the council is still paying ‘footballer salaries’ of up to £800 a day to consultants.

They also questioned why the Government has not done more to close tax loopholes and reduce tax avoidance.

Council staff protested outside the Town Hall ahead of the full council meeting where the budget was set.

Diane Wright, a community care worker, said: “Why is the council laying off so many staff when it is spending £15m a year on agency staff each year?

“Why are we having to take a pay freeze and increment freeze when they are still paying footballers’ salaries to consultants?”

Mel Hobson, a Sheffield Homes worker and GMB trade union member, added: “It’s not just the job losses. The freeze in incremental pay rises will cost people as much as £500 a year.

“Ordinary workers are on the breadline as fuel and food bills rise.”

Alison Howard, an administration support worker who is among 26 Community Assembly staff facing possible redundancy, said: “I’ve been working in local government for 30 years and I’m three-and-a-half years off my pension.

“Where am I going to get another job?”

Andy Shallice, a fellow community assembly admin worker, added: “The council should do like Clay Cross did in the 1980s and refuse to implement the Government cuts.

“The Government is already running the council - if it decided to step in and take over Sheffield’s budget it wouldn’t make much difference. “I don’t think the council should be adding to the number of people on the dole.”

Martin Mayer, chairman of Sheffield Anti-Cuts Alliance, which organised the demonstration outside the Town Hall, said: “Council workers and the people of Sheffield should not be paying for a crisis which is not of their making.

“The rich and powerful are escaping tax to the tune of £100bn per year, while cuts are made instead to vital council services and welfare benefits affecting ordinary working people.”

Sheffield Council said consultants employed on high wages are needed for short tasks where there is ‘insufficient expertise’ within the council - and hiring such staff on the payroll would be more expensive.

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