Welsh Labour RCT council preparing to introduce zero hour contracts

Union activists call for action against exploitation

Care workers protesting against cuts

A Welsh Labour-led local authority has announced plans to put existing workers on zero-hours contacts. Officers in Rhondda Cynon Taff (RCT) want to apply these contracts, which reduce wages and take away security, for existing homecare workers. Some workers could be paid for a couple of hours in the morning and then a couple of hours in the evening, unable to work in-between but not paid. Workers would not be paid while travelling from service user to service user.

In the article that breaks this story in Wales Online it says that 3 of the local authority trade unions, UNISON, GMB and UNITE, have written a strongly- worded letter, spelling out their opposition to this attempt to force casualisation on their members. Between them, these three unions give millions to the Labour Party each year.

The council claims that they have no choice because of cuts being made by the Con-Dem government in Westminster. In effect they are acting like a ConDem council. As a UNISON steward, I'm fed up of my union funding a Labour Party that passes on Con-Dem cuts and attacks our members' terms and conditions, while bleating they've got no choice.

This is not the first time either that this Labour council has been zealous at passing on Con-Dem cuts at the expense of local authority workers. RCT was an early pioneer of the tactic of issuing 188 notices to drive through changes to terms and conditions.

Once more the myth perpetuated by Wales TUC and UNISON Cymru/Wales leaders that public sector workers in Wales are protected by a Welsh Labour Government is exposed as a lie. Carwyn Jones, the First Minister, hails the Memorandum of Understanding, agreed between councils, local authority unions and the Welsh Government as a "breakthrough moment in partnership working" and is looking to bring in something similar for the entire public sector in Wales. It looks more like a charter for Welsh Labour councils to attack members' terms and conditions. UNISON, GMB and UNITE must prepare to ballot members for immediate strike action if any council attempts to introduce zero hour contracts.

And we have to stop funding the party that attacks our members' pay and conditions - break the link with Labour and support anti-cuts candidates to stand against Labour councillors who carry through Con-Dem cuts.

A UNISON Cymru/Wales steward


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