Sheffield council staff in threat to strike

GMB organiser at Sheffield Council, Peter Davies.
GMB organiser at Sheffield Council, Peter Davies.
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Council employees are threatening strike action over proposals to cut thousands of workers’ wages.

Trade unions the GMB and Unison have warned members are prepared to take industrial action to fight the introduction of ‘spot salaries’ which remove the right to pay increases and bring in a single pay rate for each job.

They say more than 4,000 Town Hall workers could face a pay cut, while just 1,500 would receive a rise with standardised pay grades.

The council says it is proposing to end a three-year pay freeze, and two thirds of staff would be better off.

But employees have moved closer towards strike action at a meeting hosted by GMB and Unison, accusing Sheffield Council of treating them as ‘scapegoats’ for the Government’s austerity measures.

Peter Davies, regional organiser for Sheffield’s GMB, said: “Members are very angry that the council is proposing to move to spot salaries.

“The long term removal of increments to spot salaries affects not only their current pay but also impacts on their pensions.

“There are many employees who will have a significant reduction in their pay, this on top of the ongoing impact of no pay rises, no increments and the devaluing of their pay over the last three years.

“The attack on public sector spending has impacted on employees year-on-year. Sheffield union members are saying enough is enough.”

Changes would not affect staff working in public health, housing or schools as non-teaching staff.

The council say the proposals are designed to help the lowest paid and protect frontline jobs. They would see 69 per cent of staff receive an increase in basic pay, while eight per cent would stay the same and 23 per cent would have wages cut.

Consultation on the proposals ends in March.

Julie Toner, the council’s human resources director, said: “The trade unions will continue to meet with council officials to try to reach a resolution.”