Kirklees staff strike over pay

MORe than 400 council workers staged a walkout in protest over pay cuts and redundancies.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 6th June 2012, 4:00 pm

The 435 business support workers from Kirklees Council went on strike on Wednesday over the cuts.

Paul Holmes, Kirklees UNISON branch secretary, said: “It is a sad situation for a leading employer like the local council, which should be committed to equality, to seek to make redundancies and cut pay in a section that is 92 per cent women and 33 per cent part time. This is regrettable.

“It seems that a large part of the council’s and local employers’ attitudes are based on attacking women.

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“In the current financial situation, how can our members be expected to take cuts in pay of more than £50 per week?

“We urge the council to see sense and end this dispute.”

Rebecca Jones, support services assistant director, said she was disappointed workers went to strike.

She said: “Even though the review started with 750 staff, once we take into account those who have chosen to leave voluntarily, those who have been successful in securing posts in the council and those that have decided to take a lower graded post to secure employment, the number at risk of redundancy continually falls.

“And we are still working with the eight or nine at risk of compulsory redundancy to bring that down further.

“Vacancies in other areas of the council that could be suitable for people affected by this review had been held vacant for some time, and in November we started a process of targeted recruitment, allowing staff in the business support review to have priority over applying for those jobs.

“We are also exploring a flexible team model which can be deployed across the council.

“However, this action will prolong uncertainty for those involved.

“For Kirklees, the backdrop to this is not the banking crisis, it is the reduction in our government grant and the need to achieve savings of £30m from back office functions.

“This review will save us £4m a year by operating more efficiently, which we can use to protect front line services.”